BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN JUST BARELY OUTRANKS DOLLY PARTON AS AMERICANS’ CHOICE FOR COMPOSING A NEW NATIONAL ANTHEM
FEW AMERICANS THINK THE REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC PARTIES HAVE CHANGED FOR THE BETTER
WHAT TYPE OF MOVIE IS YOUR LIFE? A COMEDY
AMERICANS ARE MORE AFRAID OF READING THEIR RETIREMENT–FUND STATEMENTS THAN A MEDICAL REPORT
New York, N.Y.—If we decided to scrap “The Star-Spangled Banner,” who should compose a new national anthem? Bruce Springsteen and Dolly Parton top the list. Few Americans think that either the Republican or Democratic Party has changed for the better, many Americans believe if their life were a movie it would be a comedy, and we are more afraid of reading our retirement-fund statement than a report on our health. So says the latest 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll, the results of which can be found in the July issue of Vanity Fair and online at 60MINUTES.com and VF.com. Go to the poll.
Also in this month’s poll: Americans would feel more comfortable being a judge than being an airport screener; many of us think our ancestors would be most shocked by our manners (or lack thereof); and if we could peek in on our own funerals, Americans are most curious about what others would say about us.
If forced to employ someone to compose a new national anthem, 22 percent of Americans say they would choose Bruce Springsteen, though Dolly Parton comes in a close second with 19 percent of the vote. Stevie Wonder is a close third (18 percent), followed by Bob Dylan (11 percent), John Williams (10 percent), Jay-Z (8 percent), and Madonna (5 percent).
Only 8 percent of Americans think the Republican Party has changed for the better over recent decades, while the Democratic Party fares slightly better with 12 percent. Overall, though, the vast majority of those polled think both parties are either changing for the worse (44 percent Republican, 37 percent Democratic) or haven’t really changed much at all (43 percent Republican, 45 percent Democratic).
Americans may be more fearful about their financial future than about their current health, their merchant debt, or how well their children are progressing in school. When asked which report they’d be the most apprehensive about reading, 40 percent picked their retirement-fund statement, ahead of their medical report (24 percent), their credit-card statement (15 percent), or their kid’s report card (14 percent).
About a third of Americans would describe their life as a comedy (35 percent) if it were to be made into a movie, while a daring 22 percent say their life would be of the action-adventure genre. Nineteen percent say their life would be a low-budget indie, while 12 percent say theirs would be a romance, and 7 percent say tragedy.
Elsewhere in the poll, 36 percent of Americans say they would be most comfortable in a position of authority as a judge, more than a principal (26 percent), U.S. president (12 percent), traffic cop (11 percent), airport screener (7 percent), or dictator (3 percent). About half of us (52 percent) think that our ancestors would be most surprised by our modern manners. And what would Americans be most concerned about in a posthumous state? Fifty-one percent say they would care more about what people say about them at their funeral than how many people come (19 percent), if there are any surprise visitors (11 percent), or how they look in the casket (7 percent).
The July issue of Vanity Fair will be available on newsstands in New York and L.A. on June 7 and nationally and on the iPad, Nook, and Kindle on June 12.
The 60 MINUTES/Vanity Fair Poll is a monthly measure of the American conversation on a range of topics rather than one specific subject. Geared to offer a wide-angle view of the country every 30 days, the questions explore attitudes on culture, lifestyle, current events, and politics. 60 MINUTES and Vanity Fair work together to formulate topics and questions; the poll is conducted by the CBS News Election and Survey Unit, a high-profile source of American opinion since 1969.
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Kevin Tedesco, 212-975-2329, firstname.lastname@example.org
Beth Kseniak, 212-286-7297, email@example.com
This poll was conducted at the CBS News interviewing facility among a random sample of 1,026 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone April 27–30, 2012. Phone numbers were dialed from random-digit-dial samples of both standard landline and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus 3 percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.