Online Harris Poll surveyed U.S. cross section of 2,242 adults on reactions to 'Fahrenheit 911'

Most Democrats and Independents give Michael Moore's movie good marks and think it treats President fairly; Few Republicans have seen it and those who did don't like it and think it is unfair

ROCHESTER, N.Y., July 23, 2004 -- Michael Moore's movie, Fahrenheit 911, seems to be adding to the political polarization in this already highly polarized election year. It may also be having some political impact. These are some of the conclusions to be drawn from a new Harris Poll, conducted online with 2,242 adults between July 12 and 16, 2004.

Many more Democrats (17%) than Republicans (7%) have seen the movie. And many more Democrats (30%) than Republicans (10%) think it very likely that they will see it. When they see it their reactions are very different. Democrats overwhelmingly (89%) give it positive ratings; most Republicans (56%) give it negative ratings. Almost all Democrats (85%) think it treats President Bush fairly; most Republicans (58%) think it treats him unfairly.

The political impact?

In terms of its possible impact on November's election, the most interesting results are the replies given by independents. In most recent presidential elections, the candidate who received the most independent votes won. The bad news for the White House in this survey is that independent voters are behaving more like Democrats than Republicans. They are as likely as Democrats to have seen "Fahrenheit 911" (18% compared to 17%) and are much likely than Republicans to expect to see it (20% compared to 10%). And when independent voters see the movie they mostly give it good marks (70% positive) and think it is fair (56%).

Also bad news for the president is that significant minorities of Republican viewers of the movie give it positive ratings (44%) and think it treats the president fairly (30%). The best news for the White House may be that, notwithstanding its box office success, most voters (and almost all Republicans) will not see the film.

                                   TABLE 1
               "Have you seen Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 911?"
            (IF NOT SEEN) "How likely is it that you will see it?"

    Base: All adults
                                     Total            Party I.D.
                                             Republican  Democrat  Independent
                                       %            %         %            %
    Yes, seen                         13            7        17           18
    Not seen but extremely or very
     likely to see                    21           10        30           20

                                   TABLE 2
                     HOW AUDIENCE RATES MOVIE:  BY PARTY
                       "How would you rate the movie?"

    Base: All adults who have seen the movie

                                Total               Party I.D.
                                           Republican   Democrat   Independent
                                  %             %          %               %
    POSITIVE                     76            44         89              70
        Excellent                47            23         60              45
        Good                     29            21         30              25
    NEGATIVE                     24            56         11              30
        Fair                     11            16         10              10
        Poor                     13            40          1              20

                                   TABLE 3
"Do you think the movie is fair or unfair in its presentation about President

    Base: All adults who have seen the movie

                                Total               Party I.D.
                                           Republican   Democrat   Independent
                                  %             %          %               %
    Fair                         64            30         85              56
    Unfair                       24            58          8              27
    Not sure                     11            12          7              16


The Harris Poll(R) was conducted online within the United States between July 12 and 16, 2004 among a nationwide cross section of 2,242 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. "Propensity score" weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a sampling error of +/- 2 percentage points of what they would be if the entire adult population had been polled with complete accuracy. Unfortunately, there are several other possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals to be interviewed (non-response), question wording and question order, and weighting. It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result from these factors. This online sample was not a probability sample.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

About Harris Interactive(R)

Harris Interactive ( is a worldwide market research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll(R), and for pioneering the Internet method to conduct scientifically accurate market research. Headquartered in Rochester, New York, Harris Interactive combines proprietary methodologies and technology with expertise in predictive, custom and strategic research. The Company conducts international research from its U.S. offices and through wholly owned subsidiaries-London-based HI Europe (, Paris-based Novatris and Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan-as well as through the Harris Interactive Global Network of independent market- and opinion-research firms. EOE M/F/D/V

To become a member of the Harris Poll Online(SM) and be invited to participate in future online surveys, visit

SOURCE Harris Interactive

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