Nation: Public Reaction: Charitable, Skeptica

ATIME-HarrisPoll

THE American public takes a generous and forgiving view of Ted Kennedy and his Chappaquiddick troubles.

At the same time, there is a high degree of skepticism about Kennedy's explanation of the accident and his behavior afterward—and about the incident's bearing on his presidential aptitude.

In a national poll for TIME, Louis Harris found that a substantial majority of Americans interviewed (68%) feel that "it is unfair to be critical of the way Senator Kennedy reacted to the accident, because the same thing could have happened to anyone." By 58% to 30%, the public felt that "he has suffered and been punished and...

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