Letter to the Editor

Majority don't have Iraq facts

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

To the editor:

In a stunning report released by the Program on International Policy Attitudes of the University of Maryland, we find an incredible percentage of Americans just don't follow the news and hold completely false opinions based on their misinformation.

Despite clear expert testimony presented to the 9-11 Commission and further reported and published, 57 percent of Americans still think there was a link between Iraq and al-Qaida, and thus that Iraq was responsible for the 9-11 attack. Meanwhile, despite the evidence denying such a claim, 60 percent still think Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was developing them.

Additionally, while experts are agreed to the contrary, 82 percent think falsely either that experts agree Iraq was providing support for al-Qaida or that there is an even division of views. Furthermore, we find that 65 percent think experts agree that Iraq had WMD, while only 35 percent know that experts agree Iraq did not have such weapons.

This lack of dedication in seeking out and analyzing the news is coterminous with the public's approval rating for the president. Among those who are completely uninformed, 72 percent said they would vote for George Bush. On the other hand, among those who stay abreast of current events, 74 percent would vote for John Kerry. Clearly, Bush and the Republicans are counting on the public to stay uninformed; this is the only way he can get re-elected.

JENNIFER ST.CLAIR

Cape Girardeau