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Poll Shows Slim Majority of Americans Disapprove of Reagan’s Visit to the Bitburg Cemetery

A Washington Post-ABC News poll, conducted Monday and published in the Washington Post today, revealed that by slim majority, Americans disapprove of President Reagan’s planned visit to the Bitburg military cemetery next month and want him to cancel the visit.

The survey, the first conducted in response to the controversy over the Bitburg visit, found that 51 percent of those interviewed said they disapproved of Reagan’s planned visit, while 39 percent said they approved of the visit.

A further breakdown indicated that 57 percent of the Republicans interviewed expressed approval of the cemetery visit while 63 percent of the Democrats interviewed said they disapproved.

Furthermore, 51 percent of those polled said Reagan would not be dishonoring Holocaust victims by laying a wreath at a cemetery where more than 40 Waffen SS soldiers are buried. Meanwhile, 51 percent said the wreath laying would not symbolize a dishonoring of American soldiers who fought against the Germans in World War II.

The poll, the Post reported, found people “extremely divided” over Reagan’s planned visit to the Bergen-Belson concentration camp that was added to his itinerary after the furor over the trip to the Bitburg cemetery.

The poll was conducted by telephone in which 1,019 people in the continental United States were selected at random. The margin of sampling error is about three percentage points.

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