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Gallup Poll: Americans Think People Are Becoming More Rude

Aired July 18, 2000 - 2:35 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, earlier we told you about a congressional hearing now under way, looking at the growing problem of drivers distracted by new gadgets like cell phones and onboard computers. Well, now we take a look at another problem plaguing the nation's streets and highways. It's certainly not new: It is angry drivers.

A new Gallup poll asked Americans what they think about the incidence of road rage. We get the results from Gallup's editor-in- chief, Frank Newport.

Hello again, Frank.

FRANK NEWPORT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, GALLUP POLL: Hello, indeed, Natalie.

In fact, in our poll we asked Americans about all types of rude behavior, whether or not there's any more of it or less of it than there might have in the past. And sure enough, cranky -- that's the word we're going to use -- is the operative thing that we're seeing now.

Now we've broken out by age here a real question: Has rude and selfish behavior increased? And the disturbing -- I mean 78 percent of everybody says yes, that's kind of a given. But look here for 18 to 29-year-olds, it's a much smaller number, which means maybe younger Americans are kind of used to it, the thing, you know: What's happening? This is what I'm used to.

Those Americans who are older are saying: Yes, it's increased. So, that's, we think at least looking at the data, kind of disturbing.

We also asked people: Do you think people are getting angrier when they see rude behavior in return? Maybe like we saw at the hockey incident and some things like that. Forty-five percent of Americans, rather a large percent of Americans, said yes to that.

Then what you're looking at here, getting a little ahead of ourselves, is a cell phone question, which is: Have you been disturbed by cell phone users wherever you may be? And you can see that 45 percent of Americans said that.

And in terms of driving around we might point out a large percent of Americans, about two-thirds, say they would favor a law which would ban the use of cell phones altogether when people are driving around, because that disturbs people as well.

Here are the numbers we were just talking about to make sure we get it all in. These are people getting angrier, across the country, yes, those of you out in the west a little less so than elsewhere. Maybe they are more used to it as well.

At any rate, that is where Americans stand on rude, cranky and selfish behavior. In a very nice way, we'll turn it back to you.

ALLEN: All right, Frank Newport, we thank you as always.

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