Thursday, May 5, 2011

Osama bin Laden -- in Hell?

When it comes to what people know, at least among U.S. adults, partisan differences get set aside for one clear answer -- Americans think Osama bin Laden is resting uncomfortably in Hell.

A May 2 CNN poll (warning, slow to load pdf) asked the following question:

Do you think Osama bin Laden is in Hell, or don't you think so?
  •  61 percent say yep, he's toast
  • 10 percent said he's not in Hell
  • 5 percent said they don't believe in Hell
  • And 24 percent had no opinion on his eternal damnation status
It's possible among the 10 percent who said he's not in Hell answered that way because they don't believe in the place.  The 5 percent who said they didn't believe in Hell volunteered this response rather than accept the either/or answer provided to them.  And the 24 percent "no opinion" folks?  My guess is, having read a lot of survey data over the years, that some simply do not want to judge his status, some don't care, some don't recall who he is, and some honestly have no opinion about pretty much anything.

What can we take from this?  Absolutely nothing, beyond noting that three-out-of-five Americans are willing to guess the eternal fate of an infamous (and yes, now dead, sorry deathers) terrorist.

How about partisan and demographic breakdowns?  If you scroll to the bottom of the pdf, you'll find some crosstabs.  Lemme save you some time and give you the highlights.
  • Men and women, about the same on thinking bin Laden would love a glass of ice water
  • Age?  No big difference seen.  General Hell agreement.
  • Dems and Republicans, roughly the same, at least well within the margin of error.
  • Same with income.  Some differences, but within the statistical margin of error.
  • But ... those Tea Party folks are significantly more likely to assign Osama to the hot place than those who do not identify themselves as Tea Partiers (75 percent in Hell to 43 percent in Hell, with a 7 percent margin of error).
 I suppose it's nice to see Americans coming together on something.

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