Public backs Duke's views, not the man

November 13, 1991|By Gallup Organization

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Despite strong personal disapproval for Louisiana gubernatorial nominee David Duke, Americans express support for many of the campaign themes he has been promoting in his bid for office Saturday.

A Gallup Poll shows that a majority of Americans favor many elements of Mr. Duke's populist, anti-government platform -- including across-the-board reductions in all government agencies, taxes and fees; elimination of such practices as busing and quotas; and requiring welfare recipients to work for their welfare checks.

The poll tested elements of Mr. Duke's current campaign statements. These were not directly identified with Mr. Duke in the survey and were read to respondents before any specific questions about Mr. Duke were asked. Many of Mr. Duke's more extreme, racist and neo-Nazi statements were made in earlier years and are not now an official or overt part of his campaign.

The key finding: Most of Mr. Duke's current announced positions resonate with Americans. Mr. Duke has, in short, picked up on what appears to be an evident populist sentiment across the country for less government, lower taxes and less intrusion.

As for Mr. Duke himself, however, he continues to have a largely unfavorable image. Sixty-five percent say they have heard of Mr. Duke, and of those, 16 percent have a favorable opinion, while 69 percent have an unfavorable opinion. Mr. Duke's favorable image is up slightly from three weeks ago, when only 10 percent of those who knew him thought of him favorably.

Mr. Duke's most favorable image is among whites in the South, particularly those with lower levels of education.

A little more than 1 out of every 10 Americans who know of Mr. Duke say they could imagine voting for him for political office in their state. There has been some speculation that Mr. Duke ultimately would like to run for president.

Only 6 percent of Americans who know him, however, say he is the kind of man they could support for president.

The results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,011 adults last Thursday through Sunday.

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