Most Americans think there is too much news coverage of the Anna Nicole Smith story, though news of the saga clearly is sticking in their heads — whether they want it to or not. In a FOX News Poll, half of Americans were able to express an opinion about who they believe is the father of Smith’s baby girl, and the majority knows the baby was born in the Bahamas.
The just-released poll finds that almost eight in 10 Americans (78 percent) think the media are overdoing the story — more than five times as many as say reporters are responding to a curious public’s demand for the news (14 percent).
One of the main aspects of the story involves the mystery surrounding the baby’s father — three men are actively claiming to be the dad. Americans lean toward Smith’s former boyfriend and photographer Larry Birkhead (33 percent).
Three times as many people think Birkhead is the father as believe Smith’s attorney Howard K. Stern is the dad (11 percent).
Only 1 percent think Zsa Zsa Gabor’s husband, Prince Frederic von Anhalt, is the father, and another 5 percent think it is someone other than one of these three men. Half have no opinion.
A clear 57 percent majority is able to identify correctly the Bahamas as the location of the baby’s birth, which gives an indication of the degree to which the news of Smith’s story is widespread.
Although women (65 percent) were much more likely than men (48 percent) to know where the baby was born, young people and seniors alike knew Smith gave birth in the Bahamas.
"People often deny having an interest in news stories involving celebrities," according to Opinion Dynamics Corp. Vice President Lawrence Shiman. "However, their knowledge and awareness of these stories is often higher than it is regarding major domestic and foreign policy issues."
Another indication of the extent of the attention being paid to the saga is the number of people having an opinion on Judge Larry Seidlin, who was in charge of the recent six-day Florida hearing about where Smith’s body should be buried.
More than four in 10 Americans (43 percent) say Seidlin is best described as a "nutty, publicity-seeking" judge — nearly twice as many as describe him as a "fair, professional" judge (24 percent).
A third of Americans were unable to give an opinion on Judge Seidlin, although he shouldn’t be too upset with those numbers — they indicate he is better-known than several 2008 presidential contenders.
Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from Feb. 27 to Feb. 28. The poll has a 3-point error margin.