Seven out of 10 Americans Accept Bush as Legitimate President

by Joseph Carroll

Seventeen percent continue to say Bush "stole" election

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- A recent New York Times story, analyzing the post-election count of overseas absentee ballots in Florida, has stirred up another controversy over the 2000 presidential election. A recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, however, finds most Americans satisfied that George W. Bush is the "legitimate" president, and only 17% believe he "stole" the election. The poll, conducted July 10-11 2001 (prior to the Times story), shows that almost half of all Americans -- 48% -- feel Bush won the election "fair and square," while one-third say he won, but won only on a technicality. While seven out of 10 Americans accept Bush as president, 15% say they do not accept Bush as the legitimate president now, but might in the future, and 11% of the public says they will never accept Bush as the legitimate president.

The Way Bush Won the 2000 Presidential Election:
Won Fair & Square, Won on a Technicality,
Stole the Election
2001 Jul 10-11
Acceptance of Bush as Legitimate President
2001 Jul 10-11

Gallup has asked Americans about the nature of Bush's victory since December 2000, when Bush was finally declared the winner of the presidential race. Results have been roughly similar since this question was first asked --almost half of the public says Bush won the election fairly. The percentage of Americans who say Bush stole the election has also remained essentially the same, except on the eve of his inauguration in January, when the percentage of Americans who felt Bush stole the election increased slightly.

The Way Bush Won the 2000 Presidential Election:
Won Fair & Square, Won on a Technicality,
Stole the Election

Blacks Highly Critical of the Way Bush Won 2000 Presidential Election

African Americans have a decidedly negative perception of Bush's legitimacy – one that goes beyond the expected inclinations of a largely Democratic group. This question was asked in four polls, and an analysis of combined responses shows that a majority of blacks -- 52% -- feel Bush stole the election, while 37% of blacks feel Bush won the election, but won on a technicality. Only 8% of blacks feel Bush won the election fair and square.

While a majority of blacks feel Bush stole the election, the opposite is true of whites in the country. Fifty-four percent of white Americans say Bush won the election fairly, while three in 10 whites feel Bush won on a technicality. Less than one in five white adults feel Bush stole the election.

Democrats Most Likely to Say Bush Won on Technicality

In polls conducted since December, a little more than one-third of all Democrats have said that Bush stole the election, while roughly half have said that Bush won the presidency on a technicality, and just 15% said he won fair and square. By comparison, more than eight in 10 Republicans feel Bush won the election fair and square, and only 11% of them feel Bush won on a technicality. Independents fall in the middle, with 47% saying Bush won fair and square, while more than a third say he won on a technicality.

Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 998 adults, 18 years and older, conducted July 10-11, 2001. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 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.

Which comes closest to your view of the way George W. Bush won the 2000 presidential election -- [ROTATED: he won fair and square, he won, but only on a technicality, (or) he stole the election]?

 

 

Won fair
and square

Won on
technicality

Stole
the election

No
opinion

         

2001 Jul 10-11

48%

33

17

2

2001 Apr 20-22 ^

50%

29

19

2

2001 Jan 15-16 ^ †

45%

31

24

*

2000 Dec 15-17 †

48%

32

18

2

         

^

Based on half sample.

WORDING: Which comes closest to your view of the way George W. Bush won the election -- [ROTATED: he won fair and square, he won, but only on a technicality, (or) he stole the election]?



Thinking about the circumstances surrounding last year's presidential election, which of the following describes your view of whether President Bush is a legitimate president -- [ROTATED: I accept him as the legitimate president, I don't accept him as the legitimate president now, but might in the future, or I will never accept him as the legitimate president]?

 

 


Accept as legitimate president



Don't accept but might in future

Will never accept as legitimate president



No
opinion

         

2001 Jul 10-11

73%

15

11

1



*Less than 0.5%

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