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Questions about Oprah are easy; those on Iraq aren't

March 24, 2008 | 12:49 pm

With the sad milestone on 4,000 U.S.-troop deaths having been reached in Iraq, it calls to mind a poll released earlier this month showing that many Americans had lost track of the fatality figure there. In contrast, public awareness of the political activities of a certain TV talk show host was amazingly high.

The survey, conducted for the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press from Feb. 28 through March 2, found that at that point, the largest slice of Americans -- 35% -- estimated the death toll at around 3,000.

Among the 1,003 adults polled, 28% were on the mark, saying the total was around 4,000. Just last August, when the death toll was about 3,500, the poll has found 54% of those interviewed had  named that number -- far more than any other figure.

Also in the new survey, 84% correctly identified Oprah Winfrey as the celebrity who had campaigned for Barack Obama.

That was far less than the 56% who were able to accurately identify Arizona as the state John McCain -- the presumptive Republican presidential nominee who isn't exactly a newcomer to the national scene -- represents in the Senate.

Fully 19% tabbed New Hampshire as the state, a testimony to the importance voters there have played in McCain's political career.

The poll -- amounting to a pop quiz on an array of subjects -- had an error margin of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points. To check it out in detail, go here.

-- Don Frederick