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Poll: Americans Want a Fair Count

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Americans by a 3-to-1 margin say it's more important to make certain the vote count in Florida has been fair and accurate than to resolve matters quickly, a poll suggests.

The Newsweek poll said by a 72 percent to 25 percent margin that making sure the count is fair and accurate is more important.

And the poll out Saturday said two-thirds of Americans think Al Gore did the right thing when he withdrew his concession in the very close presidential election that has not yet been decided.

In a CNN-Time poll released Saturday, four in 10 said Gore should wait for any court decisions on contested ballots in Florida. A fourth said Gore should concede immediately, while another fourth thought he should concede if he loses the official vote that wraps up next Friday.

More than half of those surveyed, 54 percent, said in the CNN-Time poll that George W. Bush should not ask for recounts in other states, which the Bush campaign has hinted it will do in Iowa, Wisconsin and New Mexico, where Gore came out ahead.

Three-fourths in that poll if Bush is elected with fewer popular votes it would have no affect on his presidency, while under a fourth said it would make him less effective.

People were evenly split on the question of a new election in Palm Beach County, where there have been widespread complaints about voter confusion over an unorthodox ballot style. But two-thirds were opposed to a new election in Florida and three-fourths opposed to a new election nationwide.

Just over half of Americans in the CNN-Time poll said the Gore campaign is acting responsibly while the votes are being recounted in Florida. A third said his campaign is acting irresponsibly.

Seven in 10 said the delay in knowing who is president and the uncertainty about the vote are a sign of strength in the nation's political system, while 24 percent said it was a sign of weakness.

When people were asked if the electoral college currently used to select a president, six in 10 said it should be replaced by selection with the popular vote. The electoral college gives each state a certain number of votes in line with their congressional representation. Gore currently leads the popular vote nationally, so if Bush wins the election he would have done so without winning the most votes.

The Time-CNN poll was conducted Friday with 1,154 adults and had a 3 percentage point error margin. The Newsweek poll was conducted with 1,000 adults Thursday and Friday and has an error margin of 4 percentage points.
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