• How widespread are these misperceptions? Are they clustered in a constant minority or does a majority have at least one key misperception?
• How have these misperceptions related to support for the decision to go to war and subsequently?
• Do these misperceptions vary according to whether they get their news from print media or a particular television network?
• Is the problem that Americans simply do not pay enough attention to the news? If they pay more attention, does this reduce the likelihood of misperceptions? Does this vary according to their news source?
• Is the problem one of bias—of one seeking out information to confirm political predilections? Do levels of misperception vary according to party identification or feelings about President Bush?
To answer these and other questions we developed a more systematic set of questions that were included in a series of three polls, conducted over June through September, with a total of 3,334 respondents. This was combined with the findings from four other polls conducted January through May for a total data set of 8634 respondents.
The polls were fielded by Knowledge Networks using its nationwide panel, which is randomly selected from the entire adult population and subsequently provided internet access. For more information about this methodology, go to www.knowledgenetworks.com/ganp
Funding for this research was provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Ford Foundation.