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Vast majority in U.S. support 'under God'

Vast majority in U.S. support 'under God'

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Nearly nine in 10 Americans believe the phrase "under God" should remain in the Pledge of Allegiance, and most believe it is acceptable for the government to promote religious expression, as long as no specific religion is mentioned, according to a Newsweek poll.

The poll, released Saturday, also found that while a majority of Americans think it is likely that terrorist attacks will be carried out during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, most aren't planning to alter their plans.

Also in the poll, President Bush's approval rating stood at 70 percent, with just 19 percent saying they disapprove of his performance. In the last poll in May, those figures were 73 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

Pledge of Allegiance
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

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The margin of error in the poll of 1,000 adults conducted Thursday and Friday was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

On Wednesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled the Pledge of Allegiance was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion because it contains the phrase "under God," which was added in 1954.

Asked if the Pledge should contain the phrase "under God," 87 percent of those polled by Newsweek said yes and only 9 percent said no. Asked if the government should avoid promoting religion in any way, 36 percent said yes, but 54 percent said no, and 60 percent of poll respondents said they think it is good for the country when government leaders publicly express their faith in God.

Only 12 percent of those polled thought the government should eliminate all references to God and religions belief in schools, government buildings and other public settings, while 84 percent said such references are acceptable, as long as they don't mention a specific religion.

The poll found that 45 percent of Americans hold the view that the United States is a secular nation in which religious belief, or lack of it, isn't a defining characteristic. Twenty-nine percent believe the United States is a Christian nation, and another 16 percent believe the United States is a Biblical nation, defined by the Judeo-Christian tradition.

In regard to possible Fourth of July terrorist attacks, 12 percent of those polled thought an attack was very likely and 45 percent said it was somewhat likely. Thirty-nine percent thought it was not too likely or not at all likely.

Despite that concern, only 37 percent indicated that their plans would be affected in any way, and less than a quarter of those polled said they would avoid traveling, flying, visiting large cities such as New York or Washington or attending events in crowded public places such as theme parks or sports arenas.




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