Public Reaction to War on Terrorism: Public Divided on Whether House or Senate Showed Better Judgment

Contact: Thomas Riehle, President Ipsos-Reid U.S. Public Affairs 202.463.7300 thomas.riehle@ipsos-reid.com

Public Reaction to War on Terrorism: Public Divided on Whether House or Senate Showed Better Judgment

Between October 19-21, 2001, Ipsos-Reid Express interviewed a representative sample of 1,000 US adults nationwide by telephone. The margin of error is +/- 3.1%. On questions that were asked of half the sample, the margin of error is +/- 4.5%. In its poll over the weekend, Ipsos-Reid found 42% think the House did the right thing in closing its offices to conduct more tests after anthrax was found, and 42% think the Senate did the right thing in remaining open after anthrax was found in a Senate building and more than two dozen people were exposed to anthrax as a result. "Americans are as divided as the Senate and House on the question of which chamber took the right approach," reports Thomas Riehle, President, U.S. Public Affairs, Ipsos-Reid. Results were about the same for interviews conducted before and after later news that anthrax was also found in a House annex building, and that a D.C.- area postal worker who processed mail addressed to Congressional offices is seriously ill from exposure to anthrax. In the public mind, there is no clear right or wrong way to handle the anthrax scare when it comes to closing public institutions during tests for anthrax. More than 30 people who work in Congress were exposed to Anthrax this week. The House decided to close its offices in order to determine whether any more Anthrax was present. The Senate decided to stay in session while those additional tests were being done. In your opinion, who showed better judgment, the House or the Senate?
The House 42
The Senate 42
(DO NOT READ) Both used good judgement 6
(DO NOT READ) Neither used good judgement 2
Don't Know/Refused 7
Subgroups:
  • Although the Democratic Party controls the Senate and the Republican Party controls the House, among the public Democrats think the House was right (46% of Democrats say the House did the right thing, 39% the Senate), and Republicans think the Senate was (50% of Republicans agree with the Senate, 37% the House).
  • Women tend to think the House did the right thing (45% of women agree with the House, 38% the Senate), while men tend to agree with the Senate (47% of men agree with the Senate, 38% the House).
  • Younger people tend to agree with the House (among those age 18-34, 47% agree with the House and 38% the Senate; among those age 35-54, 45% agree with the House and 40% the Senate). Older people tend to agree with the Senate (among those age 55 and older, 51% agree with the Senate, 30% the House).

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