Paul Holmes 29 Jan 2006 // 12:00AM GMT
As the case of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his guilty plea on fraud and bribery charges continues to make headlines, a Harris Poll finds that only four percent of U.S. adults believe this is an isolated case, as compared to 86 percent who think he is just one of many, distinguished only be the fact that he happened to get caught.
The attitude crosses party lines: 80 percent of Republicans believe Abramoff is one of many, while 90 percent of Democrats and 94 percent of independents feel the same.
But opinions are divided about whether the affair is damaging to President Bush, who spent the week downplaying a series of photos of he and the lobbyist together at the White House. While 41 percent of adults think it was damaging to the president and his administration, 45 disagree, with.only 18 percent of Republicans believing the case is damaging to the president compared to about half (49 percent) of Independents and 58 percent of Democrats.
When asked what the effect of new laws and restrictions proposed by both parties would be on the political culture in Washington, D.C., the public is skeptical. Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of adults believe that even with new laws, things will remain the same and only 12 percent believe there will be change in the political culture.
There is nevertheless some support for greater transparency. Just over half (53 percent) of adults believe that having all contributors, the amount they give, and who they give to posted immediately on the Internet would change things.