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banner Thursday, 16 November, 2000, 00:21 GMT
Polls say voters are patient
Florida officials recount votes
Americans are willing to wait for the Florida recount
By News Online's Kevin Anderson in Washington

Americans are proving to be a patient people as they wait to find out who will be their next president.

Polls show they are willing to wait for the results of vote recounts in Florida even if the process takes weeks.

But there are limits to public patience: most polls also suggest that the public wants the political struggle to end once the results of the Florida recount have been announced.

And while the recount takes place, both sides will keep a close on such polls as they fight to win in the court of public opinion.

No constitutional crisis

Several different polls show that Americans are confident that the process is working.
Who's the winner?
36% in an NBC poll say Bush is the winner
19% say Gore is the winner
39% say it's too soon to say

A poll by the ABC television network showed that only 19% of Americans are very worried by the unsettled election.

The poll found that 28% are somewhat worried, and 52% are not worried at all.

And in an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, a full 56% are confident that the election will be resolved before it turns into a constitutional crisis, and a meagre 8% said that the situation is already a crisis.

Wait for recount

Polls show that Americans are willing to wait for the recount in Florida even if that outcome is weeks away.
Protestors in Florida
Americans do not want lawyers to decide the race

A NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 55% of those asked were willing to wait for the results of the recount as opposed to naming a winner immediately.

The same poll found that 71% of respondents though the winner should be named after the Florida recount.

But the recount in Florida has been clouded by lawsuits.

"I don't have any poll data, but in my own view, I think the public would be very unhappy if this turns into legal wrangling and not something reasoned," said the director of the Pew Research Centre for the People and the Press, Andrew Kohut.

In the ABC-Washington Post poll, only 28% of those polled wanted the candidates to take the case into court to question of the fairness of the election.

War of public opinion

Polls show that the US public is following the election more closely than any recent news event, including the impeachment of President Clinton, the trial of OJ Simpson or the death of Princess Diana.
Who's conducting their campaign better?
47% of those asked by NBC approved of Mr Bush
47% of those asked approved of Mr Gore

In early polls, such as the one conducted by the Pew Centre for the People and the Press, Mr Bush seemed to be winning over the public, Mr Kohut said.

The poll showed that 51% of those asked thought Mr Bush was doing a good job in handling the unsettled election, while 46%thought Mr Gore was handling himself well.

But later polls show the country evenly divided on how the two candidates have coped in the days following the election.

Polls show that both men are getting almost identical approval ratings for their handling of the situation, and the ABC-Washington Post poll found that country still evenly divided on who they would like to be the next president, with 45% of those polled wanting George W Bush and 44% wanting Al Gore.

But when the recounts are finished, polls show the country is ready to unite behind the winner whether it is Mr Bush or Mr Gore.

The NBC-Wall Street Journal poll found that 69% of those asked would be comfortable with Mr Bush as president, and 66% of those asked would be comfortable if Mr Gore should win.

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15 Nov 00 | Americas
Court says hand recounts go on
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