A TIME Poll:: How the Voters Feel About Eagleton

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THE politicians and editorial writers clamoring for Tom Eagleton's exit from the Democratic ticket do not appear to reflect the views of the public. According to a nationwide telephone sampling of 1,015 eligible voters conducted for TIME last week by Crossley Surveys Inc., the American people are more sympathetic to Eagleton than the headlines suggest. The questions:

What effect did the news that Eagleton had undergone psychiatric treatment for nervous exhaustion have on your choice for President?

No effect: 76.7%

Switched from McGovern to Nixon: 2.6%

Switched from neutral to Nixon: 2.6%

More likely to vote for McGovern: 3.8%

Don't know: 13%

May not vote: 1.3%

In a close election, the 5.2% switch to Nixon could be decisive. But that could be partially canceled out by the 3.8% of the sampling who said they would probably vote for McGovern. It is not likely that they changed their minds because of Eagleton's troubles; rather, they were tending to favor McGovern anyway. Or their reaction may have been capricious—the opposite of the one expected by the interviewer. Still, their switch would shave the McGovern-Eagleton ticket's net loss of voters to 1.4% of the total sample.

Is Senator Eagleton qualified to be Vice President?

Yes: 53.7%

No: 18.5%

No opinion: 27.8%

Not surprisingly, Democrats were more willing to keep Eagleton on the ticket than Republicans were. Of the Democrats polled, 60% believed him to be qualified; only 13.3% thought he was not. In the case of the Republicans, 46.3% considered him qualified; 25.4% did not. Youth was more favorable to Eagleton. In the 18-29 age group, 61.8% believed him to be qualified; 12.6% felt the opposite. In the 30-49 age group, Eagleton was approved by 53.3% and rejected by 20.4%. Probably because of the furor over his medical history, Eagleton was better known by the public than a vice-presidential candidate usually is at this stage in the campaign: 70.5% knew his name.

If you think Eagleton is unqualified, why?

Because he has undergone psychiatric treatment: 50%

Because he did not tell McGovern his medical problems: 33.5%

Other or unstated reasons: 16.5%

If the election were held today, for whom would you vote?

Nixon: 53.8%

McGovern: 30.3%

Others or undecided: 15.9%