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CBS Poll: Thumbs Up For Elian Raid

Most Americans support the government's decision to forcibly remove Elian Gonzalez from the home of his Miami relatives, according to a new CBS News poll.

A small majority approved of breaking into the home. A larger majority said the use of force by federal marshals was necessary. And nearly two-thirds of Americans said the family would never have given the boy up voluntarily.

Approve of forcible removal of Elian from Miami house?

Approve 51%

Disapprove 44%

On Sunday, April 23, CBS News re-interviewed a nationwide sample of 577 adults who were first interviewed on the subject a week ago. Support for the raid was greatest among those who said they were paying close attention to the situation.

Did federal marshals se too much force in the Miami raid?

Too much force 38%

Did what was necessary 56%

The poll also suggests that Attorney General Janet Reno has more support now for her handling of the situation than she did in the week before the raid. Now, 52 percent approve of the way she is handling the situation. A week ago, only 42 percent of the same respondents approved.

Would relatives have given Elian to his father voluntarily?

Yes 26%

Raid was necessary 63%

The public was split on whether Elian's father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, was acting in the best interest of his son a week earlier. Now that he has been given custody of his son, a majority of the same respondents - 54 percent - say he was acting in the child's best interest. Thirty-four percent said he was not acting in his son's best interest.

This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 577 adults interviewed by telephone on April 23. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus four percentage points for results based on the total sample.

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