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Poll Track: Views on Policy and Politics Poll Track: Views on Policy and Politics

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Poll Track: Views on Policy and Politics

Gun Control

Guns should be kept under tighter control but not outlawed entirely, according to a majority of respondents to a Gallup survey. Fifty-six percent said they wanted laws covering the sale of firearms to be stricter; one-third said that gun laws should not be changed, and 9 percent said that laws should be relaxed.


Sixty-six percent said they would oppose legislation that would ban the possession of handguns by anyone except "police and other authorized persons"; the other one-third favored such a law. (10/19/06, 1,001 adults, margin of error +/-3%)

Gun, Sweet Gun

47% of Americans, a plurality, say having a gun in the house


makes it a safer place to be.


North Korea

In a Newsweek poll, 88 percent of Americans said they were aware of news about North Korea's recent nuclear test. But they were leery of using force to deal with the North Korean nuclear threat. Eighty percent of Newsweek's respondents opposed sending U.S. ground forces to North Korea, while 58 percent said they would not support air strikes against suspected nuclear facilities in that country.


Seventy percent, however, did favor "stopping and searching North Korean ships" for nuclear materials. Fifty percent said the United States should abandon its current strategy and agree to direct talks with Kim Jong Il's government, while 34 percent said that direct talks would only reward North Korea for its bad behavior. (10/21/06, 1,000 adults, +/-3%)

Dems' Dream

Newsweek's latest poll has more bad news for Republicans. When pollsters asked respondents which party they trusted more to handle eight issues, the GOP failed to come out ahead on a single one. Iraq, the economy, immigration, health care -- Democrats led Republicans on almost every issue. There was one tie, at 40 percent, on "the war against terrorism at home and abroad." The only other close call was "moral values," which Democrats led by only 4 percentage points.

So, with all this apparent momentum, what should a Democratic Congress do?

If the Democrats take over, increasing the minimum wage and lowering the cost of prescription drugs should be Congress's top priorities in the next two years, Newsweek respondents said. Other top priorities should be investigating unethical behavior in congressional ranks, looking into the decision to go to war in Iraq, enacting the 9/11 commission's recommendations, and passing lobbying reform. (10/21/06, 1,000 adults, margin of error +/-3%)

Making Repairs

71% of Americans agree that "our system of government is

broken but can be fixed."

(Opinion Research/CNN)

Tuned Out

Huge amounts of cash flow into political advertising in every election cycle -- but does it make a difference to increasingly skeptical voters? Seven in 10 respondents to a new Gallup/USA Today poll said they believe "not much" or "nothing" of what they see in campaign ads, no matter whether they're for or against the featured candidate. Almost two-thirds described most of the political TV ads they've seen this year as at least somewhat negative. (10/20/06, 1,007 adults, +/-3%)

Riffing on 'Rodham'

Six months ago, a CNN poll revealed an interesting phenomenon: Americans liked the junior senator from New York better when she used her middle name. Her favorability went up; her unfavorability went down.

Now, new numbers from CNN show "Hillary Rodham Clinton" doing better in potential White House 2008 matchups than "Hillary Clinton." Pollsters tested her against GOP favorite John McCain: With "Rodham," she bested the senator from Arizona by 7 points, 51 percent to 44 percent. Without it, she trailed McCain by 1 percentage point, at a statistically even 47 percent to 48 percent.

A matchup against former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was less conclusive. With or without "Rodham," Clinton edged Giuliani by a few percentage points, but this time the margins were reversed: She beat Giuliani by 4 points without "Rodham"; with it, she led by only 1 point. (4/27/06, 1,012 adults, +/-3%; 10/20/06, 1,012 adults, +/-3%)


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