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Most Americans View Mandela Favorably

Most Americans hold 92-year-old Nelson Mandela in high regard as the iconic South African leader recovers from a respiratory infection that put him in the hospital last week.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 68% of American Adults share a favorable opinion of Mandela, with 25% who view him Very Favorably. Twenty percent (20%) regard Mandela unfavorably, but that includes just six percent (6%) with a Very Unfavorable opinion. Twelve percent (12%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

For the sake of comparison, 82% of Americans hold a favorable opinion of U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., including 51% with a Very Favorable view. 

Mandela was the first South African president to be elected in a democratic election following a 27-year prison sentence for charges stemming from anti-apartheid activism. The increasingly frail Mandela, prior to his latest health problems, had been diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer. He was last seen widely during a World Cub game in South Africa last summer.

Only 36% of Americans have been following recent news on Mandela at least somewhat closely, including 10% who have been following Very Closely.

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The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on January 28-29, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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