Based on several nationwide surveys it conducted with California-based Knowledge Networks since June, as well as the results of other polls, PIPA found that 48 percent of the public believe US troops found evidence of close pre-war links between Iraq and the al-Qaeda terrorist group; 22 percent thought troops found weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq; and 25 percent believed that world public opinion favored Washington's going to war with Iraq. All three are misperceptions.
The report, Misperceptions, the Media and the Iraq War, also found that the more misperceptions held by the respondent, the more likely it was that s/he both supported the war and depended on commercial television for news about it.
The study is likely to stoke a growing public and professional debate over why mainstream news media - especially the broadcast media - were not more skeptical about the Bush administration's pre-war claims, particularly regarding Saddam Hussein's WMD stockpiles and ties with al-Qaeda.
It found a high correlation between respondents with the most misperceptions and their support for the decision to go to war. Only 23 percent of those who held none of the three misperceptions supported the war, while 53 percent who held one misperception did so. Of those who believe that both WMDs and evidence of al-Qaeda ties have been found in Iraq and that world opinion backed the United States, a whopping 86 percent said they supported war.
More specifically, among those who believed that Washington had found clear evidence of close ties between Hussein and al-Qaeda, two-thirds held the view that going to war was the best thing to do. Only 29 percent felt that way among those who did not believe that such evidence had been found.
Another factor that correlated closely with misperceptions about the war was party affiliation, with Republicans substantially "more likely" to hold misperceptions than Democrats. But support for Bush himself as expressed by whether or not the respondent said s/he intended to vote for him in 2004 appeared to be an even more critical factor.
The average frequency of misperceptions among respondents who planned to vote for Bush was 45 percent, while among those who plan to vote for a hypothetical Democrat candidate, the frequency averaged only 17 percent.
For each of the three misperceptions, the study found enormous differences between the viewers of Fox, who held the most misperceptions, and NPR/PBS, who held the fewest by far.
Eighty percent of Fox viewers were found to hold at least one misperception, compared to 23 percent of NPR/PBS consumers. All the other media fell in between.
CBS ranked right behind Fox with a 71 percent score, while CNN and NBC tied as the best-performing commercial broadcast audience at 55 percent. Forty-seven percent of print media readers held at least one misperception.
As to the number of misconceptions held by their audiences, Fox far outscored all of its rivals. A whopping 45 percent of its viewers believed all three misperceptions, while the other commercial networks scored between 12 percent and 16 percent. Only nine percent of readers believed all three, while only four percent of the NPR/PBS audience did.
PIPA found that political affiliation and news source also compound one another. Thus, 78 percent of Bush supporters who watch Fox News said they thought the United States had found evidence of a direct link to al-Qaeda, while 50 percent of Bush supporters who rely on NPR/PBS thought so.
Conversely, 48 percent of Fox viewers who said they would support a Democrat believed that such evidence had been found. But none of the Democrat-backers who relied on NPR/PBS believed it.
quote:As far as taxes, I have heard so much in these years about it. I believe that if we as a country new more about the constitution, and out history, then our taxes, (as far as this string goes) would be much less. I believe in paying our share to help keep our great country up, but 45% on average is very high.
Not really. Compared to many european countries, we have similar or lower taxes. Many of those countries also have much better standards of living for their people, including free healthcare for everyone, very low poverty rates and excellent education for everyone.
Anyway, can you flesh out what you mean by your figure of a rate of "45% on average". Do you mean income taxes? I thought that the tax rate for the wealthiest americans was only something like 35%.