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CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll: Nation split over Florida recount but trusts U.S. Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A new CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll finds that although a majority of Americans think the justices on the U.S. Supreme Court are being influenced by their personal political views, 72 percent of those polled believe that the justices will decide the Florida ballot recount case fairly after hearing oral arguments on Monday.

And an even larger percentage, 79 percent, say that Democrat Al Gore should concede if the court decides in favor of Republican George W. Bush and stops the recounts.

The survey of 735 adult Americans was conducted Sunday, December 10.

Although the public strongly agrees that the U.S. Supreme Court should have the final say in the presidential election (61 percent would say they trust the nation's highest court more than Congress, the Florida high court, or the state Legislature in Tallahassee, Florida, to make the final decision), they are split on how the justices should rule.

Forty-nine percent say the U.S. Supreme Court should not allow the manual recount in Florida to continue, while 47 percent think the court should permit a recount of "undervotes" in the Sunshine State.

However, three-quarters of those polled think the justices will rule in favor of Bush.

But regardless of the outcome, the high court carries some weight with the public. If the ruling ultimately decides whether Bush or Gore will be the next president, 73 percent say that would be a legitimate outcome.

If the Supreme Court rules against Gore, the call for him to concede the election may significantly increase. Fifty-three percent currently think Gore should concede, even before the case is heard. But 79 percent say that Gore should concede if the high court rules against him.

Even a majority of Gore supporters think he should concede if the decision goes to Bush, and most believe that the justices will decide the case fairly.

The public appears to be looking to the Supreme Court for closure in this matter, and even Gore supporters are comfortable with the prospect that the justices' decision might spell the end of the Gore campaign and the presidential election of 2000.


CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP POLL - December 10


After the U.S. Supreme Court holds its hearing on Monday, what do you think it should do? Should it allow the manual recount of votes to continue in Florida, or not?

Yes       47% 
No        49
Sampling error: +/-4% pts


Will the Supreme Court decide the case fairly?

Yes       72% 
No        17
Sampling error: +/-4%  pts

Overall, do you think the Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court are being influenced by their personal political views when deciding this case, or don't you think so?

Yes        51% 
No         42
Sampling error: +/-4%  pts

If it comes down to a choice of these four, which of the following would you most trust to make the final decision on the selection of the next president -- the U.S. Congress, the Florida Legislature, the Supreme Court of Florida, or the Supreme Court of the United States?

U.S. Supreme Court        61% 
U.S. Congress             17
Florida Supreme Court      9
Florida Legislature        7
Sampling error: +/-4%  pts

Just your best guess, do you think the U.S. Supreme Court will rule in favor of -- Al Gore or George W. Bush?

Bush        75% 
Gore        14
Sampling error: +/-4%  pts

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling could ultimately decide who will be the next president. Which comes closer to your view -- (1) I would accept it as a legitimate outcome no matter which candidate it favors or (2) I would not accept it as a legitimate outcome?

Legitimate outcome     73% 
Not legitimate         19
Sampling error: +/-4%  pts

Should Gore concede immediately?

               Yes       No
Now            53%       43% 
Last Week      58        38
Sampling error: +/-4%  pts

As of today, do you think Al Gore should concede the election, or should he not concede?

Yes       53% 
No        43
Sampling error: +/-4%  pts

If the U.S. Supreme Court rules against Al Gore, should he concede the election, or should he not concede?

Yes        79% 
No         16
Sampling error: +/-4%  pts

Would you approve or disapprove of the Florida Legislature voting to select Bush's slate of 25 electors from that state?

Approve      48% 
Disapprove   42
Sampling error: +/-4%  pts


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Sunday, December 10, 2000


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