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Inside Politics

Post-inaugural poll finds mixed reaction to address

Signs of hope mix with skepticism of lofty goals


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(CNN) -- More than half of Americans doubt the United States can "end tyranny in the world," a long-term goal President Bush stressed in his inaugural address, but a majority feel spreading democracy is essential to U.S. security, a poll released Thursday night shows.

Also, most of the 624 adults surveyed by phone Thursday in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll said they believe stopping tyranny should be a high priority for foreign policy.

Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed (73 percent) said they either monitored broadcast coverage of inauguration ceremonies as they happened or have read, watched or listened to reports after the fact. Twenty-six percent said they did neither.

Bush was sworn in Thursday for a second term. His inaugural address, delivered before a crowd of more than 100,000 people, was devoted in large part to the nation's security.

"We have seen our vulnerability, and we have seen its deepest source. For as long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny -- prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder -- violence will gather."

"So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

Sixty percent of respondents felt Bush's goal of ending tyranny was not attainable, 35 percent believed it was, and 5 percent had no opinion.

Two-thirds of respondents agreed that the growth of democratic movements in every nation should be a top or high priority for U.S. foreign policy; 23 percent, a low priority; and 9 percent, not a priority.

Sixty percent of Americans agreed that spreading democracy is "essential" for U.S. security, while 35 percent felt it makes no difference.

Also in his inaugural address, Bush said he would "strive in good faith to heal" the nation's divisions. Forty-two percent of respondents felt he would make good on his promise, but 53 percent said he wouldn't be able to attain his goal.

Forty-three percent said the inauguration made them more hopeful about the next four years. A quarter said it made them less hopeful, and 28 percent said it made no difference.

Forty-six percent characterized the inauguration as a celebration of U.S. democracy and history, and 21 percent said it was a celebration of Bush's victory. To 30 percent, it was no cause for celebration at all.

Asked how they personally felt about Bush's inauguration, 18 percent said they were thrilled; 32 percent happy; 12 percent unhappy; 10 percent depressed; and 25 percent didn't care.

Some critics questioned spending millions of dollars on inauguration festivities in a time of war and after the devastation of December's tsunami in South Asia.

But 60 percent of respondents felt the festivities were appropriate versus 32 percent who disagreed.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.


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