TIME's New Cheney Poll Shows Huge Divide Between Public and Media Opinion

TIME magazine just released the results of a recent poll done for them by SRBI Public Affairs concerning America’s view of Vice President Dick Cheney following almost non-stop, wall-to-wall, 24/7 coverage of a hunting accident that he was involved in last weekend. The numbers are quite fascinating, and depict a populace that is much less concerned about this incident than the press, as well as possessing a far smaller level of disdain for the vice president than those in the media.

It appears safe to assume that the headline statistic from this poll will be that 41 percent of respondents disapproved of Cheney’s performance as vice president versus 29 percent that approved. However, SRBI stated this is “little changed from last November.”

Yet, what likely won’t make the front-pages tomorrow or be the lead stories on tonight’s network broadcast news programs is that 52 percent of respondents approved of the way Cheney handled informing the media of the hunting accident, compared to 42 percent that disapproved. This has certainly not been reflected in the seven days of media outrage that followed this incident.

In addition, 56 percent of respondents felt that the vice president wasn’t trying to hide anything by delaying reporting the accident, versus 39 percent that thought he was. Another result that flies in the face of ongoing media consternation was that 41 percent of respondents viewed Cheney as an asset to the administration, versus 37 percent that saw him as a liability. And, 46 percent felt that Cheney has the country’s best interests at heart, versus 45 percent that didn’t.

Some other interesting results that went contrary to the weeklong media frenzy concerning this incident was that 69 percent of respondents felt that the accident had no effect on their opinion of the vice president, versus only 24 percent that claimed this made them feel more negatively toward him. And, the result that has to be making media representatives scratch their heads is that only 10 percent of respondents felt that Cheney should resign as a result of this accident, while a resounding 85 percent said he shouldn’t.

Clearly, SRBI did an excellent job of not including any media representatives in their polling sample.

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