North Korea: Use a Carrot, Not a Stick
Although they view North Korea as a threat, most Americans don't believe that the situation calls for serious military action, according to a Gallup/USA Today poll. Seventy-two percent of respondents chose diplomacy and economic sanctions over military force to deal with North Korea's nuclear missile development. Only 12 percent said they thought the United States should launch air strikes or send in ground troops to eliminate the threat of North Korea's missile program. (7/13/06, 1,007 adults, margin of error +/-3%)
Currency: Change Is Good
Because of the high price of zinc, a metal used in the manufacture of the good old Abe Lincoln penny, the coin now costs more to make than it's actually worth. But most Americans don't want to see the penny disappear, according to a Gallup/USA Today poll.
Perhaps part of the penny's appeal is the good-luck factor: Seventy-six percent of respondents said that if they see a penny on the ground, they'll pick it up. The poll did not address the question of whether picking up a facedown penny brings bad luck. (6/17/06, 1,002 adults, +/-3%)
Do you think the penny is a useful coin, or should the government do away with it?
Yes, useful: 55%
No, do away with: 43%
No opinion: 2%
Two more polls show the Democratic Party still leading the GOP in generic congressional matchups. An Associated Press/Ipsos Public Affairs survey has the Democratic candidate beating the Republican by more than 10 percentage points, 47 percent to 36 percent. The margin was smaller in a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll -- Democrats were up by 8 points.
Congress's abysmal approval rating isn't boosting either party: Only 25 percent of Fox respondents and 27 percent of AP/Ipsos respondents gave members of Congress a positive job-approval rating. (Associated Press/Ipsos Public Affairs, 7/14/06, 1,000 adults, margin of error +/-3%; Fox News/Opinion Dynamics, 7/13/06, 900 registered voters, +/-3%)
63% of Americans say their opinion of President Bush won't be a factor in their vote for Congress. (Associated Press/Ipsos Public Affairs)
Sphere of Influence
Are you more or less likely to vote for a candidate if
President Bush campaigns for him or her?
All D R I
More likely 21% 6% 47% 7%
Less likely 48% 76% 12% 55%
No difference 26% 14% 36% 34%
Don't know 5% 4% 5% 4%
Are you more or less likely to vote for a candidate if Sen.
Hillary Rodham Clinton campaigns for him or her?
All D R I
More likely 30% 56% 5% 22%
Less likely 44% 21% 75% 39%
No difference 20% 16% 16% 33%
Don't know 6% 7% 4% 5%
(Fox News/Opinion Dynamics, 7/13/06, 900 registered voters,
Another Inconvenient Truth
Both global warming and sky-high gas prices have gotten plenty of headlines recently, but a new Pew Research Center survey suggests that for most Americans, the issue that's hitting them in the wallet takes precedence. When Pew asked a half-sample whether the United States should make developing new energy sources or protecting the environment a higher priority, six in 10 chose developing new energy sources.
Environmentalists need not entirely despair, however. The other half-sample was asked to choose between "expanding exploration, mining and drilling, and the construction of new power plants" and "energy conservation and regulation of energy use and prices"; 57 percent chose conservation.
Respondents to the Pew poll didn't doubt the veracity of scientific claims about global warming. Seven in 10 said they believe the Earth's atmosphere has gotten warmer over the past few decades, and a plurality of 41 percent attributed the change to human activity, not natural weather patterns. (7/12/06, 1,501 adults, +/-3%)