NEW YORK - Expunging the N-word from the classic American novel Huckleberry Finn is a bad idea. That’s what Americans say in the latest 60MINUTES/Vanity Fair Poll.
While more than two of three white Americans (68 percent) think it’s a bad idea to remove the N-word from Huckleberry Finn, less than half of blacks (46 percent) see it that way. Twenty-five percent of blacks don’t know how they feel about new editions of the book replacing the word with “slave,” but 24 percent agree that it is a good idea -- the choice of only 11 percent of whites. Among all polled, 64 percent think it is wrong to amend Mark Twain’s masterpiece
Other attitudes gauged include how Americans feel about going to Cuba, what people should or should not be able to do in public and the ideal retirement age.
A full 71 percent blamed parents over fast food restaurants and video games (5 percent each) for obese children, whose numbers are at epidemic levels say authorities like First Lady Michelle Obama. Just 2 percent blamed the school system and 1 percent blamed the child, but 12 percent picked “it’s beyond anyone’s control.”
Asked if a loved one had an illness that permitted them prescription marijuana, 77 percent of those polled support the medicinal use of the recreationally illegal drug, with age being a factor. Support goes up to 86 percent when asked of respondents 18-29 years of age, but down to 63 percent among those 65 and over, 31 percent of whom oppose such use of “pot.” Across all age groups, 18 percent oppose the use of medical marijuana.
Our government needs to keep secrets to avoid being vulnerable to its enemies say 72 percent of Americans polled. Attitudes change only slightly when viewed through the political party prism, with 67 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of Republicans believing the absence of secrets is a liability. Those identifying themselves as political independents agreed with that by a rate of 70 percent. Still, 23 percent overall believe a totally open government would make the U.S. “stronger,” an opinion held by 27 percent of democrats, 17 percent of republicans and 24 percent of independents polled for this survey.
Elsewhere in the poll: Americans show little interest to visit Cuba, 37 percent believe Election Day should be a federal holiday and most don’t want to outlaw public behaviors like breastfeeding or spanking a child, though public profanity attracted 35 percent saying that it should be made unlawful.
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, attitudes on culture, lifestyle, current events, and politics are explored to create a national survey. 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