GALLUP NEWS SERVICE
The U.S. Supreme Court begins a new term this week, tackling cases involving controversial issues such as job discrimination, capital punishment, and the rights of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A recent Gallup Poll finds that although the plurality of Americans consider the ideological orientation of the Supreme Court to be "about right," nearly one-third of Americans -- the highest level in more than a decade -- call it "too conservative." More than half of Americans approve of the job the court is doing, which is lower than approval has been at some recent points but still much higher than public approval of President George W. Bush and Congress. Public trust in the Supreme Court shows little change this year, with just about 7 in 10 Americans saying they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in the judicial branch of government.
Pakistan's Electoral Commission has ruled that President Pervez Musharraff and four other candidates are eligible to run in the presidential election scheduled for October 6, 2007. The controversy surrounding Musharraf's candidacy in part reflects a lack of faith in Pakistan's electoral process. Based on surveys completed earlier this summer, just 26% of Pakistanis say they have confidence in the honesty of the country's elections, down from 38% in 2005.
In the United Kingdom, there is continued speculation as to whether or not British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will call a general snap election as early as late October or early November. Analysts say the state of the country's economy will be one of the deciding factors. When asked in December 2006 and January 2007, while Prime Minister Tony Blair was still in office, if "the current economic conditions in your country are good or not," 64% of respondents in Britain said yes, while 31% said no. As a point of comparison, people in France are far more likely to rate their economy negatively. When Gallup surveyed French residents during the same time period, 24% of respondents said economic conditions were good, compared with 68% who said they were not good.
Results are based on multiple surveys. Results for U.S. adults are based on telephone interviews with 1,010 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Sept. 14-16, 2007. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.
Results for Pakistan adults are based on face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of 1,500 residents of Pakistan, aged 15 and older, conducted May 24-June 29, 2007. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of error attributable to sampling, weighting, and other random effects is ±2.8 percentage points.
Results for the U.K. adults are based on face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of 1,000 residents of the United Kingdom, aged 15 and older, conducted in December 2006 and January 2007. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of error attributable to sampling, weighting, and other random effects is ±2.8 percentage points.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.