As Americans begin the busy summer driving season, a new poll reveals that most are confused about who they should hate and why. While last summer's 'must hate' favorites, including war-critics Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore, are now regarded as hated has-beens, few new 'hateables' have captured the public's attention.
Poll: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad easy to hate but hard to pronounce.
By Deanna Swift
WASHINGTON, DC—Americans are already weeks into the busy summer driving
season yet most still lack a clear sense of who they should hate and
why. The current murky forecast stands in marked contrast to the hazy
hate-filled days of last summer, in which most Americans agreed to hate
anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, whom they blamed for dominating news
coverage, causing traffic jams in much of the southwest and driving up
the price of gasoline.
Who do you hate?
According to the results of a recent poll, most Americans have all but forgotten Ms. Sheehan. The Polltronics poll, based on 2,130 telephone interviews conducted earlier this month, found that while 63% of Americans report feeling "mildly irritated" at the mention of Ms. Sheehan's name, only 9.2% say that they are prepared to hate her "most of all" between now and Labor Day.
Sinking like a stone
Also falling short in the blame game these days is one-time controversial filmmaker, Michael Moore, hated by fully 39% of Americans last year. By contrast, only 7% of respondents indicated that Mr. Moore would continue to top their "most hated" list this summer. While the angry auteur may be off the hook for the summer blockbuster season, 56% of Americans said that they were prepared to resume hating Mr. Moore when his film "Sicko," a thinly-veiled attack on the American health care system, widely viewed as the best in the world, debuts later this year.
No one left to hate
The anxiety that many Americans feel about not knowing who to hate has only worsened in recent days with the news of the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who'd been widely regarded as a replacement topic for Ms. Sheehan during talk radio summer sweeps month. Thirty-eight percent of those surveyed said they'd planned on hating Mr. Zarqawi "more than anyone else" during the months of June, July and August, but were no longer sure to whom the top spot should belong.
Anxious Americans did get some relief from their worries this week with
the announcement that Iraqi militants have appointed a successor to Mr.
Zarqawi. The new leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq is said to be Sheikh Abu
Hamza al-Muhajer, which means "the immigrant." Sixty-one percent of respondents said that they would be more likely to
hate an immigrant than a native-born American.
While there is no clear front runner among those likely to make the summer's "most-hated" list, several early favorites have lost steam in recent weeks. Among them: Hillary Clinton, pedophile priests, teacher unions and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Forty-two percent of those surveyed said that they would be more likely to hate Mr. Ahmadinejad "most of all" if his name were easier to pronounce. Also dropping from the top spot: gays, who turned in a disappointing performance during last week's debate over amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage.
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 one of the following cable news shows: "The Big Story" with John Gibson, "Special Report" with Brit Hume, "The O'Reilly Factor," "Hannity and Colmes" or "On the Record" with Greta Van Susteren.
Have you decided who to hate this summer? Talk back to firstname.lastname@example.org.