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Poll: Americans Don't Remember Who Herbert Hoover Was

From CBS News (March 19, 2004):

Unemployment and outsourcing are big issues in Campaign 2004, but Democrats hoping to make political hay out of them might want to be a bit more original than Democrats of yesteryear.

They've traditionally been fond of pointing to the Republican Party as the party of Herbert Hoover, on whose watch the nation sunk into the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Hoover has in fact been mentioned repeatedly by the John Kerry campaign as the last president until George W. Bush to oversee a loss of jobs. But a national poll finds that most people don't connect the Hoover name with the presidency, the Depression (whose camps of suddenly homeless individuals were known as"Hoovervilles") or the 1929 stock market crash.

Just 43 percent of the 634 adults questioned by the University of Pennsylvania's National Annenberg Election Survey correctly identified Herbert Hoover. Twelve percent thought he was the director of the FBI, a post held for 48 years by J. Edgar Hoover. Four percent linked the name to the Hoover Dam, the Nevada-Arizona structure honoring the former president. Three percent thought Hoover had something to do with the vacuum cleaner invented in 1907 (by Ohio janitor James Spangler, whose cousin William H. Hoover became president of his company).

Fifty-four percent of survey participants age 65 and older knew Hoover in a political context, compared to 38 percent of those 18 to 29.