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American Voices

Aired January 13, 2004 - 14:47   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: With all the celebrities making headlines lately, does the public need a vaccine to be protected from the sleaze epidemic, talking about a new type of vaccine. Gallup poll editor in chief Frank Newport has his ear finely tuned to the "American Voices." He's in Princeton, New Jersey. Frank, who is ticking off people the most? Pete Rose, Britney Spears or Martha Stewart?
FRANK NEWPORT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, GALLUP POLL: Interesting question. The answer is, believe it or not Britney Spears. Of those three, unfortunately and all of whom have an unfavorable or negative image in the eyes of the public is Britney Spears who has the most negative image of all, I'm sorry to say.

What's interesting about Britney Spears is 66 percent negative or unfavorable. Older Americans, 65 and plus, have the most negative image of all, interestingly, they know who she is. So at least one thing's happened with her, she's accomplished the objective of becoming a household name. But look at those image issues. She really needs her PR agency to rush in at this point.

Martha Stewart is in the middle, very much in the middle of her trial getting under way in New York City for charges of insider trading. She has a negative image.

And then Pete Rose just said to Paula Zahn he needs to win back those millions of fans, and that's true, Kyra. Forty-nine percent of Americans unfavorable, 34 percent favorable opinion of Pete Rose. Other data show Americans think he should still be in the Hall of Fame, quite interesting.

PHILLIPS: Tomorrow President Bush is expected to call for new manned space missions to the moon and Mars. Will Americans support spending that kind of money that it would take to make that possible?

NEWPORT: The money is the issue. We asked this two ways. When we just say to Americans, do you like the idea of manned -- humans going back to the moon, men or women, yes. Not overwhelmingly. While 53 percent approve of the concept or returning to the moon. It's been a long time, since the early '70s since we've had somebody on the moon.

However, when we say in the question, would you approve of spending billions of dollars, 67 percent say no. It really is going to come down to money on that issue. Sounds good in concept, Kyra. But those billions of dollars are going to be the real stumbling block.

PHILLIPS: President Bush is also wrapping up his trip to the summit of Americas in Mexico where his new immigration plan was discussed. How do Americans rate that idea?

NEWPORT: Well, the attitude in general towards immigration on the part of Americans right now is negative. It's been more positive when the economy was booming. Right now Americans are worried about jobs so they're down on immigration.

That means when we ask about Bush's immigration plan, which would legalize at least temporarily illegal immigrants in this country if they're taking jobs Americans don't want, 55 percent of Americans say they oppose it. It's going to be a tough hall public opinion-wise if Bush tries to push Congress to make this into law.

PHILLIPS: All right, Frank, thanks.

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