Perceptions to some random but important questions

Perceptions to some random but important questions



  1. What percentage of the United States annual budget is allocated to foreign aid?
    Class answers: mean 27%; median 25%; mode 40%
    Public answer: 25% (Earth Institute, Columbia University)
    Actual percentage of budget: <1%.
  2. What percentage of the United States annual budget should be allocated to foreign aid?
    Class answers: mean 17%; median 15%; mode 15%
    Public answer: 10% (Earth Institute, Columbia University)
  3. How many United States soldiers died in the Viet Nam war?
    Class answers: mean 60,065; median 50,000; mode 60,000
    Actual fatalities: ~58,125 (number on The Wall).
  4. How many Vietnamese died in the Viet Nam war?
    Class answers: mean 281,127; median 50,000; mode 100,000
    Public answers: University of Leeds study, N=250, Denver area: median answer 100,000. (J. Lewis et al)
    Actual estimated fatalities: 1.5 to 2 million (Time, PBS, War Library)
  5. Should the United States join the International Criminal Court, which would try war criminals?
    Class answers: 64% of answers were yes.
    Public answers: 71% (Chicago Committee on Foreign Relations in 2002).
  6. Does President George Bush want or intend to join the International Criminal Court?
    Class answers: 36% of answers were yes.
    Public answers: 48% of public in 2004 believed Bush wanted to join (42% believe we do participate in the treaty already), and among Bush supporters 66% before the debates, and 53% after the debates, believed Bush wanted to join (PIPA 2004)
    Bush: does not want to join International Criminal Court and has not done so.
  7. Should the United States sign an international land mine ban, which would ban the use of land mines in the future?
    Class answers: 76% of answers were yes.
    Public answers: 75% (Chicago Committee on Foreign Relations, 2002)
  8. Does President George Bush want or intend to sign the United States to an international land mine ban treaty?
    Class answers: 48% of answers were yes.
    Public answers: 56% of the public (and 72% of Bush supporters) believed Bush did so want in October 2004 (PIPA)
    Bush: does not want to join international land mine ban treaty and the U.S. has not done so.
  9. Should the United States sign a ban on biological weapons, which would ban the signatories from developing or distributing biological weapons?
    Class answers: 80% of answers were yes.
  10. Does President George Bush want or intend to sign the United States to a ban on the development of biological weapons?
    Class answers: 58% of answers were yes.
    The Biological Weapons Convention was signed by the US in 1974. A new draft has been rejected by the United States in recent years because the U.S. says it will interfere with "defensive biological weapons research" (State Department).