Zogby/O’Leary Report Vietnam Poll II

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Majority of Americans Support VietnamÂ?s Entry into WTO; One-Third Have Favorable Opinion, Another Third Have No Overall Opinion of Vietnam

Associated Television News commissioned Bradley O’Leary of the O’Leary Report and pollster John Zogby of Zogby International to do a yearly poll on the American public’s view of Vietnam.

The first report was conducted in December 2003 and this new poll, the second annual Zogby/O’Leary Report Vietnam Poll, was conducted in mid-November 2004 of 28,885 likely American voters nationwide. The newest poll gauges whether the Vietnam War, an issue central to this year’s U.S. presidential campaign, negatively affected the opinions of Americans towards Vietnam.

The poll examined voter attitudes on an issue of key importance to Vietnam: entry into the World Trade Organization. The results are indeed good news for Vietnam as two-thirds of all Americans support the country’s entry into the WTO and only 13% opposed the entry into the WTO. Our poll asked the following question of voters:

The results of this question demonstrate a remarkable shift in the mood of the voter on the issue of trade with Vietnam. In our first Zogby/O’Leary Report of December 2003, we asked Americans if they thought the country should hold off on trade with Vietnam or whether the U.S. should encourage more contact with that country. The results of that poll question was largely split, with 49% of Americans who thought the U.S. should encourage more contact while 44% felt that the U.S. should hold off on trade. Despite the focus of the Vietnam War in the recent U.S. presidential election, it appears Americans have becoming increasingly more supportive of trade with Vietnam with opposition dropping from 44% to 13% and support increasing from 49% to 66%.

Our poll found Americans split into three groups: one-third of Americans who had a very or mostly favorable opinion; a third who had no opinion on the country; and another third that had a very or mostly unfavorable opinion of Vietnam. These results clearly show that one-third of Americans can be swayed to a positive view of the Vietnam simply because they have not formed an opinion. Members of the press corps in Vietnam should view these results as an opportunity to enlighten those Americans with no opinion of their country with a blitz of media stories on the country’s many virtues for Americans.

The thirty-two percent of Americans who said Vietnam has not made progress remained unchanged from our 2003 poll. Those Americans saying Vietnam made progress dropped from 40 % to 34% – well within the poll’s margin of error of + 0.5 percentage points.

Americans who said they were unsure represented the biggest increase from the 2003 poll, growing from 28 % to 33% in 2004, and clearly the result of the tens of millions of dollars spent during the presidential campaign and the best-selling books on Senator Kerry and President Bush on their war records and military service forty years ago.

Also affecting this number is the fact that the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post have no bureaus in Vietnam and write stories mainly critical of Vietnam’s religious record while writing no stories on the growth of the Catholic and other Christian religions in Vietnam in the last ten years or the number of new Christian churches constructed during that time.

The poll also asked Americans about the progress by veterans groups and the government of Vietnam on locating the remains of MIA's. Seventy-eight percent of Americans felt that the U.S. Congress should thank these veterans groups and the government of Vietnam for their efforts to date. In fact the 700 remaining Vietnam MIA's in relatively small when compared to Korean War MIA's (7,200) or World War II MIA's (79,000) and the fact that Vietnam has military MIA's from the American Vietnam War. It would appear that notwithstanding the number of Hollywood movies and television shows on the war that start and end in Vietnam thirty years ago, Americans are largely appreciative of the government of Vietnam’s efforts to work with American veterans to locate MIA's.

Next, our poll sought to gauge American support for travel to Vietnam. First, we asked Americans if they ever traveled to Asia. About one-in-five Americans (or 22 %) said they travel to Asia for business or vacation. That response roughly translates into nearly 62 million Americans who have traveled to the continent.

Finally, our poll asked Americans if they would consider travel to Vietnam for business or vacation. This means that 51 million Americans would look favorably on a trip to Vietnam or about 80 percent of Americans who see Asia as a destination.

The cross-tabulations for this question also reveal that 50% of those Americans who plan to travel to Vietnam for a vacation are relatively young, between the ages of 18 and 54. Urban Americans, those living in large and small cities make up almost 40% of those likely to visit the country.

Vietnam’s tourism industry is still budding by comparison to Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia but almost 80 % of Americans traveling to those countries have a positive attitude about coming to Vietnam

About the Poll

The Zogby/O’Leary Report poll was conducted November 3-16, 2004 of 28,885 likely voters nationwide. The margin of error was + 0.5 percentage points.

Contact Information:

Bradley O’Leary

310-800-7184

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Clara Hickerson
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