CBS Poll: JFK Conspiracy Lives

Thirty-five years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, conspiracy theories and charges of an official government cover-up resonate with the American public, according to a new CBS News poll.

Most Americans still remain suspicious of the lone gunman conclusion of the Warren Commission Report and skeptical that the truth will ever be learned. Only one in 10 Americans believes that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. More than seven times as many think Oswald did not act alone.

Did Oswald act alone?
Yes
10%
No
76%


The same large majority of Americans believes there was an official government cover-up. By 74 percent to 13 percent, the public thinks there was an official cover-up to keep the public from learning the truth about the assassination.

Public skepticism about the Warren Report's conclusions and about whether or not the government has told the public the whole truth has been this high for at least the past decade.

A majority of Americans have expressed doubt about a single assassin at least since Gallup first asked the question in 1966.

Will we ever know truth?
Yes
19%
No
77%


While older Americans, over the age of 65, and people with college degrees are the least likely to believe in a conspiracy theory or an official government cover-up, clear majorities in these groups still believe this.

The vast majority of Americans seem resigned to the fact that they will never learn the complete truth about the Kennedy assassination. Conspiracy and cover-up theorists, as well as those who believe the Warren Commission's findings, share the overall pessimism that we may never know what really happened.

This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 1,118 adults by telephone November 16-17, 1998. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus three percentage points for results based on the entire sample.

©1998 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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