A recent poll reveals that most Americans aren't paying attention to 'Rove-gate' because the story is boring and hard to follow, and say that they would be more interested in the CIA leak probe if it involved celebrities. As to the relationship between Karl Rove and President Bush, a majority of Americans says that the long-time companions should not be allowed to marry but should enjoy many of the rights afforded to married couples.
Americans sharply divided on whether missing teen in Aruba or return of Harry Potter is more important than 'Rove-gate'
By Deanna Swift
WASHINGTON, DC—A weekend poll reveals that most Americans are not paying attention to the CIA leak probe known as 'Rove-gate' because the story is "boring" and "hard to follow." A majority of those surveyed indicated that they would be more likely to follow the story of Karl Rove, Joseph Wilson and former CIA operative Valerie Plame if it involved celebrities.
The poll comes on the heels of a steady drumbeat of news reports regarding the leak of the name of Mrs. Wilson, nee Plame back in 2002, part of a long, confusingly plotted investigation that has won over critics while faring poorly at the box office.
Name that right hand man
The poll, based on 2,130 telephone interviews conducted between Friday and Sunday found that fewer than 10% of Americans could identify either the main plot or any of the major players currently starring in 'Rove-gate.'
Forty-three percent believed that Karl Rove was a classmate of Harry Potter's at Hogwarts, while 22% said that he is currently in jail in Aruba, a suspect in the disappearance of 18-year-old Natalie Holloway. A scant 8% named Mr. Rove as the Ethiopian infant recently adopted by actress Angelina Jolie.
A replacement for Rove?
But while Americans are united in their disinterest in the story, they are sharply divided when it comes to deciding which celebrities would make 'Rove-gate' more exciting. Forty-eight percent of those surveyed said that they would be more likely to follow the saga of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his spy-ette wife, Valerie Plame, if the two were played by actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Thirty-six percent of respondents said they thought the tale of White House intrigue would fare better if it starred Rene Russo and Pierce Brosnan in a reprise of the 1999 hit caper "The Thomas Crown Affair."
Finally, 9 percent of those polled had no opinion on who should play Mr. Rove or Mr. Wilson but thought that current Hollywood 'it' girl Lindsay Lohan should be cast as either Ms. Plame, jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller or syndicated columnist Robert Novak.
The results of the poll also reveal that the relationship between President Bush and Mr. Rove, widely regarded as being among the closest of Mr. Bush's companions, continues to be controversial. Fifty-one percent of those surveyed do not think that President Bush and Mr. Rove should be allowed to marry, despite the fact that the two have been together for almost 30 years, since the two were set up by Mr. Bush's father, the first President Bush. But some 63% of respondents would like to see the long-time companions have the same benefits enjoyed by married couples, including health, wealth and sexual fulfillment.
Finally, twenty-two percent of those polled said that they would like to see Mr. Bush and Mr. Rove adopt a baby from either Cambodia or Ethiopia. That's good news for the duo; neither of those countries requires that individuals be married in order to adopt orphans there.
How this poll was conducted
Samples for Polltronics polls are random digit samples of telephone numbers selected using the "probability proportionate to size" method, which means numbers from across the country are selected in proportion to the number of voters in each state. Individuals who did not answer their phones were assumed to be watching a television show about celebrities more interesting than Mr. Rove, Ms. Plame and Mr. Wilson, in the midst of a conversation about celebrities or boning up on celebrity gossip for a future conversation.
In order to ensure a distribution of ages and genders within households, the interviewer selects the respondent by asking to speak to the adult with the next birthday. Quotas are applied to ensure the sample mirrors the proportions of voters nationally. Specifically, the aim is for a gender split nationwide of 53% female / 47% male, as well as regional quotas.
The RDD selected phone numbers are sent to the interviewers through computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) software. Both the software and human supervisors monitor each step of the interviewing process. While calls are automatically dialed, the system does not use predictive dialing so prospective respondents always find a live interviewer when they answer their phone.
What other stories aren't worth paying attention to? Talk back to Deanna Swift at [email protected].