HAITIAN POLL - Mitch Perry

02/20/04

Poll: Most Haitians in U.S. back Aristide

According to a new nationwide poll, a majority of Haitians living in the United States want Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to finish his term in office, but an even larger group says the country was better off under the Duvalier dictatorships

The Poll of 600 Haitians living in the U.S. - half of them from Florida - also found that the community is divided on whether the U.S. should send its military from Haiti.

Belinda Jeanty is a Research Analyst at the South Florida Polling firm of Bendixen & Associates......She says the results were mixed, but most Haitians polled in the U.S. want President Aristide to be allowed to finish out his term in office (roll tape#1 o.q.'want Ariste to stay in office")

The Poll - believed to be the 1st in-depth poll of Haitian American EVER, included both U.S. Citizens AND legal residents, as well as some illegal immigrants...More than 90 Percent of those surveyed were born in Haiti.

There was one suprising element to come out of the survey-

Today U.S. officials were overseeing the evacuation of several dozen Peace Corps volunteers, following the issuance yesterday of a new State Department warning that urged Americans to leave Haiti as soon as possible , and raised the possibility that commercial air links to the country may soon be interrupted.....

A Pentagon spokesman said yesterday there is no thoughts of the U.S. intervening militarily, as is what happened under President Clinton a decade ago........Belinda Jeany from Bendixen & Associates says opinion is split whether the U.S. should intervene this time (roll tape#2 o.q." opposition movement")

The Pollsters began calling Haitains in 5 states - Florida, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connectiuct, on February 12th - a week after armed anti-government rebels began a violent rebellion against Aristide by seizing more than a dozen towns, including Haiti's 4th largest city of Gonaives.

Perhaps the most suprisising statistic to emerge from the Poll is the support for the predessors to Jean Bertrand Aristide.......Again, Belinda Jeanty from Bendixen & associates (roll tape#3 o.q. " nostalgie")

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