Most Americans want the United States to take more time seeking a peaceful solution in Iraq rather than moving quickly into a military confrontation, a new poll says.

By 60 percent to 35 percent, people in the Newsweek poll released Saturday they would prefer that the Bush administration allow more time to find an alternative to war.

Support for a military option would be strong, 81 percent, if the United States were to act with full allied support and the backing of the U.N. Security Council. A majority would be opposed should this country act without the support of the United Nations and had no more than one or two allies.

U.S. officials and their allies currently are discussing the appropriate timetable for military action against Iraq, which faces a U.N. demand that it abandon its weapons of mass destruction. Europeans are urging that President Bush give United Nations weapons inspectors more time.

The president's job approval was at 56 percent in the Newsweek poll. His approval rate was in the 60s in November.

People worry about the impact of the United States' taking military action against Iraq. More than half in the Newsweek poll, 54 percent, said they expect it would cause serious divisions with allies. And more than two-thirds thought it would cause serious problems throughout the Arab countries and would cause Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to use biological or chemical weapons against Israel.

The Newsweek poll of 1,002 adults was taken Jan. 16-17, and has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.