An overwhelming majority of Americans — more than four in five — disagree with this week's federal appeals court decision that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional.

On Wednesday, a San Francisco federal appeals court ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion because it contains the phrase "under God," and therefore cannot be recited in public schools. The judge who authored the opinion stayed his decision Thursday, which prevents it from taking effect until a higher court reviews the case.

A FOX News/Opinion Dynamics national poll of registered voters taken in the days immediately following the court's original decision shows that fully 83 percent of the country disagree that use of the words "under God" violates the Constitution. Only 12 percent agree that the Pledge is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

"While these numbers clearly suggest a rejection of the court’s Constitutional position, it is likely, given the times we are in, that there is also a literal ‘rally around the flag’ sentiment playing into these huge numbers," said Ernest Paicopolos, a principal of Opinion Dynamics.

Young people, Democrats, and high-income families are the groups most likely think the Pledge is unconstitutional. Democrats are more than twice as likely as Republicans to think it is unconstitutional (16 percent compared to 7 percent respectively). Seventeen percent of those under age 34 think the Pledge is unconstitutional, as do 20 percent of those making $100,000 or more.

Polling was conducted by telephone June 26-27, 2002 in the evenings. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ±3 percentage points.

1. As you may have heard, a federal appeals court has ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion and cannot be recited in public schools because it contains the phrase "under God." Do you agree or disagree with the court's decision that the Pledge is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion?

1. Agree 12%
2. Disagree 83
3. (Don’t know) 5