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Tuesday, 12 December, 2000, 12:51 GMT
America holds faith in Supreme Court
Gore Attorney David Boies at Supreme Court (artist's impression)
Supreme Court: Best placed to decide the election
Polls taken in the run-up to the Supreme Court ruling that effectively determined the presidential election suggested that the majority of Americans believe the high court is the best suited to decide the race.

Similarly, at least two-thirds of the population believed the judgement was going to be a fair one - although public confidence in the court seems to have slipped since last week.

Court will be fair (Source: ABC/ Washington Post)
All: 66%
Bush supporters: 83%
Gore supporters: 47%
Opinion is almost evenly split on what that decision should have been.

But the latest ABC/Washington Post opinion survey also shows a sharp rise in the number of people who believe the electoral system is flawed.

Partisan divide

According to the polls, 49% of Americans find "serious problems" in the way the country elects its leader, compared with 32% last month.

Manual recount in Florida
More than 50% believe hand counts should have continued
But in a CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll, three-quarters of the sample considered the Supreme Court would be fair.

Asked which institution they most trusted to decide the case, 61% said the US Supreme Court, 17% plumped for Congress, 9% the Supreme Court of Florida and 7% the Florida legislature.

But while many consider the unsettled election a major problem, only 17% would describe it as a constitutional crisis.

Although public support for America's highest court remains high, there is a partisan divide with over 80% of Bush supporters believing it will be fair compared to under 50% of Gore supporters.

The ABC/Washington pollsters also found that confidence in the court has slipped by 10 points in the past week.

Just over half the people (51%) think the Supreme Court should have allowed the manual recounts to continue - with 48% saying it was right to halt them.

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12 Dec 00 | Americas
Tense wait for Supreme Court ruling
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