Public Believes McVeigh Died With Secret About Bombing Collaborators

by David W. Moore

Eight in 10 Americans supported execution

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Prior to his execution on Monday for the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City that resulted in the deaths of 168 people, Timothy McVeigh denied that he needed the help of any "unknown" collaborators to commit his deed. But according to the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted June 8-10, most Americans -- 65% -- believe that there were other collaborators whose names were never revealed by McVeigh. Just 23% agree with the position of the FBI that everyone involved in the bombing has been apprehended.

Which comes closer to your view - McVeigh has not revealed the names of everyone who helped him in the Oklahoma City bombing, or everyone involved in the Oklahoma City bombing has been caught or apprehended?

The poll also shows that, over the past three months, there has been little change in the public's support for the execution of McVeigh. The weekend poll shows that about eight in 10 -- 78% -- supported the death penalty for McVeigh, similar to the percentages recorded by Gallup polls in April (80%) and May (81%). Among the supporters, 59% said they generally favor the death penalty, while 19% said they usually oppose it, but felt that McVeigh should be an exception.

Public Attitudes About
Execution of Timothy McVeigh

In a Gallup poll in mid-May, Americans were almost evenly divided over whether to delay the execution of McVeigh because of the newly discovered files that the FBI had failed to turn over to the defense. While 86% of Americans were still convinced of McVeigh's guilt, by a margin of 52% to 47% Americans were willing to see a delay of the execution "as long as necessary to properly review the files."

Since then, the courts have ruled that there was no evidence in the files that would justify a new trial for McVeigh, and the public apparently feels the same judgment applies to Terry Nichols, the man convicted of helping McVeigh make the bomb. Just 33% of Americans say the federal government should not hold a new trial for Nichols, while 59% say it should.

For a full review of public opinion on the death penalty, please click here.

SurveyMethods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,011 national adults, aged 18+, conducted June 8-10, 2001. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Now thinking about Timothy McVeigh, the man convicted of murder in the Oklahoma City bombing case and sentenced to death, which comes closest to your view -- [ROTATED: you generally support the death penalty and believe McVeigh should be executed, you generally oppose the death penalty, but believe McVeigh should be executed in this case, (or) you generally oppose the death penalty and believe McVeigh should not be executed]?

BASED ON -- 504 -- NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM A; ±5 PCT. PTS.

June 8-10, 2001

May 18-20, 2001

April 20-22, 2001

%

%

%

Support death penalty, believe McVeigh should be executed

59

57

59

Oppose death penalty, believe McVeigh should be executed

19

23

22

Oppose death penalty, believe McVeigh should not be executed

17

16

16

OTHER (vol.)

3

2

1

No opinion

2

2

2

^ WORDING: Now thinking about Timothy McVeigh, the man convicted of murder in the Oklahoma City bombing case and sentenced to death, which comes closest to your view -- [ROTATED: I generally support the death penalty and believe McVeigh should be executed, I generally oppose the death penalty, but believe McVeigh should be executed in this case, (or) I generally oppose the death penalty and do not believe McVeigh should be executed]?

Which comes closer to your view -- [ROTATED: McVeigh has not revealed the names of everyone who helped him in the Oklahoma City bombing, (or) everyone involved in the Oklahoma City bombing has been caught or apprehended]?

McVeigh has not revealed names

Everyone involved
has been caught

No
opinion

2001 Jun 8-10

65%

23

12

As you may know, the FBI recently discovered documents that were related to the Oklahoma City bombing court case but that were not previously made available to defense lawyers. Do you think the federal government should or should not hold a new trial for Terry Nichols, the man convicted of helping Timothy McVeigh make the bomb?

Should

Should not

No opinion

2001 Jun 8-10

33%

59

8

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Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/4492/Public-Believes-McVeigh-Died-Secret-About-Bombing-Collaborators.aspx
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