Poll: 'Peace Mom' Has Changed Few Minds

ByABC News
August 30, 2005, 9:04 AM

Aug. 30, 2005 — -- Anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan has won some sympathizers, but hasn't changed many minds: As many Americans say Sheehan has made them more likely to support the war as to oppose it, and the vast majority says she hasn't changed their views at all.

One thing Sheehan has accomplished is broad exposure: Three-quarters of Americans in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll have heard or read about her highly publicized protest outside George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. She does receive support: Fifty-three percent support what Sheehan's doing and 52 percent think Bush should meet with her again, as she's requested.

Sheehan supporters are very disproportionately those who oppose the war. (In an ABC/Post poll earlier this summer, 53 percent said it was not worth fighting.) Nevertheless, Sheehan has not changed the basic equation -- or many minds at all. About eight in 10 Americans say she hasn't changed their overall opinion of the war. Among the rest, as many say they're more likely to support the war because of Sheehan (10 percent) as say they're more likely to oppose it (9 percent).

Intensity is about equally strong on either side: Twenty-nine percent of Americans strongly support Sheehan; 26 percent strongly oppose what she's doing. And three-quarters of her supporters come from the ranks of those who say the war was not worth fighting.

Basic views of Sheehan are no different among people in military families than in non-military households -- a little more than half in both groups support her, and about half in both groups think Bush should meet with her. Still, Sheehan looks to have touched more of a nerve in military households; such people are more apt to say she's affected their opinions, about equally in both directions. Twenty-two percent say she's made them more apt to support the war, 17 percent say she's made them more apt to oppose it. That compares to 8 percent and 9 percent, respectively, in non-military households.

Given their views on the war, Democrats and Independents are more apt than Republicans to support Sheehan; this is particularly true among Democratic and Independent women. Republicans -- men and women alike -- broadly oppose her activities.