60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll: January Edition
Welcome to the 60 Minutes/ Vanity Fair Poll for January 2012. The beginning of a new year can be a wonderful time. We can close out our account with 2011 and start 2012 with a renewed enthusiasm to create fresh goals and ideas for personal improvement. Hopefully our country can do the same and our leaders can come together to make progress on the many challenges we face. Let's hope for less unemployment, less war and less partisanship. Let's also hope for more unity, more civility of every kind.
To everyone, we wish you a very Happy New Year and now the results of our poll...
- What is Mitt Romney's real first name?
Forty-four percent of Americans do not know what Mitt Romney's real first name is. Twenty percent thought that Mitt was his real name, 18 percent guessed Mitchell and eight percent chose Milton. Only six percent knew that his real name is Willard. If he manages to get nominated and then elected president, a whole lot of people will know who Willard M. Romney is.
- Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are...
Two out of three Americans think that parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are putting them and others at risk. Only 19 percent think that it is smart because of unknown possible dangers. Despite controversial evidence, a strong majority of Americans feel that most vaccines have served us well, eradicating some terrible diseases in some cases almost completely.
- Most important rule of email etiquette
Despite explicit warnings of bad luck befalling them, a third of Americans think the most important rule of thumb (or finger) in e-mail etiquette is to not forward chain e-mails. Twenty percent say not to be ironic (it's not like it could be misunderstood or anything). Eleven percent say keep it short, file under "brevity is the soul of wit", and another 11 percent say go easy on the "reply all" button unless it is important. Nine percent say no abbrev., and two percent frown on using smiley faces and the like.
- Would you go back to school if it were free?
Three out of four Americans would happily go back to school to further their education if it were free. Only 23 percent feel that they've had enough education. Some people who never graduated or need more education for professional reasons are logical candidates, but why would a whopping 75 percent of Americans want to return to school? Let's see, free food, crushes, little responsibility, keg parties...get the picture?
- Reinstating the military draft in the U.S.
Two thirds of Americans oppose reinstating the draft, including 76 percent of those closest to draft age (18-34). A majority of Americans that served in the Armed Forces (56 percent) however, favor reinstatement. They know better than most that when Americans of all stripes have a stake in a war, that pressure from families and friends keep the politicians and the generals more honest about getting us out of unjust wars faster.
- How many people live in the United States?
A third of Americans knew that the U.S. population is over 300 million people. But more than half of all Americans have an outsized picture of how big we are. They guessed between 500 million and a billion. We may be the world's greatest nation, but not in population.
China has over a billion more people than we do and India soon will as well. In fact, despite our power and might, America is home to less than five percent of the world's population.
- The world would be a better place with...?
More than half (54 percent) of Americans think the world is a better place because of its religious diversity. Twenty percent led by Evangelicals think it would be better if everyone were Christian. Like John Lennon, 12 percent imagined no religion and only eight percent thought a single global religion would make the world a better place.
- What version of your life story would you share with your kids?
Half of all Americans would share the full unabridged version of their life story, warts and all with their kids. The other half would provide either an edited version or only excerpts of their story. A hint to those who want to give their kids the whole truth: most stories get better with a little judicious editing.
- Who is Christine Lagarde?
Despite her recent appearance on "60 Minutes", two thirds of Americans don't know who Christine Lagarde is. Eleven percent correctly identified her as the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, an especially important position with the world economy as she recently put it, "at such a very dangerous juncture." Seven percent mistook her for the wife of the French president, six percent for Miss USA, and five percent each for an NPR host and a former New Jersey governor.
- Most important phrase when traveling abroad
Mother always reminded us to say please (11 percent) and thank you (38 percent) and Americans agree that when they are traveling outside the U.S. it's useful to know those words in the native language of the country they're in. Next with 23 percent is the international icebreaker "hello" followed by "where's the restroom?" (16 percent) which can, at certain times, be very important to know. Americans thought it was less important to know how much something cost (eight percent) or where the nearest McDonald's was (one percent).
- Would you murder your favorite pet for $1 million?
Can you imagine what a million dollars could do for the average American family? Well Americans must be the pet loving-est people in the world because 83 percent of them said they wouldn't kill their favorite pet for a million bucks. Even when asked if most people they know would do it, 72 percent stuck up for their friends and neighbors and said no.
With that kind of devotion, it looks like man's best friend and a lot of other pets are receiving a whole lot of love.
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