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Poll: Steady Support for Action Against Iraq

A majority of the public continues to support the United States taking military action to disarm Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein, and there is evidence of growing impatience for the action.

A FOX News poll conducted this week finds 71 percent of Americans support using U.S. forces to disarm Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and 20 percent oppose. Support has been at about the same level for the last eight weeks.

This leads to a growing number of Americans who agree, “it’s time to get it over with in Iraq.” A month ago, a slim majority wanted to “stop the uncertainty,” while today over two-thirds agree with the let’s “get it over with” sentiment.

Additional delays in military action could reflect negatively on President Bush. If the president were to accede to the request of France and allow inspections in Iraq continue another six months, 44 percent say they would feel less favorable toward Bush compared to 28 percent who would feel more favorable. Almost 20 percent say it would make no difference. These responses are highly correlated with support for military action.

Among those who support an invasion, more than half say a delay would make them feel less favorable toward President Bush. Conversely, among war opponents, over half say they would feel more favorable toward the president if he were to give U.N. inspectors more time.

"The public continues to trust the case that the president has made on Iraq," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "Having made the case to the public, though, Bush is now in a situation where any significant delay may appear to be backing away from the principles he has articulated."

The U.N. Security Council unanimously voted to approve Resolution 1441 to disarm Iraq about four months ago, in November 2002. If the U.N. fails to enforce its resolutions, a small majority (57 percent) thinks the United Nations will have become irrelevant.

Much fanfare was given this week to renaming items using the word French. On Capitol Hill, the House cafeteria officially renamed French fries and now calls them “freedom fries.” Even so, almost half of the public (47 percent) opposes boycotting products from France and Germany because of their opposition to U.S. policies on Iraq, while four in 10 favor such a boycott. When asked about foreign aid, half of the public favors limiting U.S. financial assistance only to countries that support the United States in the war on terror (39 percent oppose).

Preventing Saddam from aiding terrorists is seen by a plurality as the most important reason to take military action. By a three-to-one margin Americans say the top reason for action is to keep Iraq from supplying weapons to terrorists, with 14 percent say the most important reason is to promote democracy and human rights and 10 percent say to secure oil supplies. Twenty percent say it is a combination of these.

The White House estimates the war, including one year of reconstruction and aid, will cost at least $60 billion dollars — or approximately $300 per U.S. taxpayer. At that price, 69 percent of Americans say it is worth it to disarm Iraq and remove Saddam and 23 percent say it’s not worth it. Fully 87 percent of supporters of military action say it’s worth $300/taxpayer, and even 19 percent of those who oppose action say it’s worth it.

Amen! Most Americans Praying for Peace

The latest FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll shows that when it comes to their position on war with Iraq, more people are talking to a higher power than government representatives.

A large majority (81 percent) of the public reports they have said a prayer for peace in recent weeks. Last week at President Bush’s second evening press conference since taking office, he told reporters that he prays daily and that, “there are thousands of people who pray for me.” The poll finds 61 percent of Americans say they have prayed for President Bush in the last few weeks.

Equal numbers of supporters and opponents of military action say they have recently prayed for peace, while supporters of action are 25 percentage points more likely than opponents to have prayed for Bush.

Just over one in 10 say they have contacted an elected official about their position on the war and, even fewer people (three percent), report having participated in one of the recent anti-war protests. Some Americans see the anti-war protests as an effective tool in stopping war, but most think the protests do more to make the participants feel better than bring about the objective (16 percent to 70 percent).

As has been the case in other recent FOX News surveys, a majority thinks the United States is definitely going to war with Iraq. When asked if there is “any way for the United States to avoid war with Iraq,” less than one-third believe that war can be prevented; almost twice as many (62 percent) think war is inevitable.

Polling was conducted by telephone March 11-12, 2003 in the evenings. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ± 3 percentage points. Results are of registered voters, unless otherwise noted. LV = likely voters.

1. – 7. I'm going to read the names of some people. Please tell me whether you have a generally favorable or unfavorable opinion of each one. If you've never heard of one, please just say so.
SCALE: 1. Favorable 2. Unfavorable 3. (Can't say) 4. (Never heard of) (ROTATE)

George W. Bush

  Favorable Unfavorable Can't say Never
11-12 Mar 03 62% 29 9 -
17-18 Dec 02 68% 25 7 -
3-4 Dec 02 65% 27 8 -
22-23 Oct02 LV 62% 31 7 -
6-7 Aug 02 72% 22 6 -

Tony Blair

  Favorable Unfavorable Can't say Never
11-12 Mar 03 64% 7 12 17

Jacques Chirac

  Favorable Unfavorable Can't say Never
11-12 Mar 03 9% 26 19 46

Gerhard Schroeder

  Favorable Unfavorable Can't say Never
11-12 Mar 03 6% 15 21 58

Bill Clinton

  Favorable Unfavorable Can't say Never
11-12 Mar 03 47% 46 7 -
3-4 Dec 02 42% 50 8 -
12-13 Feb 02 45% 47 7 1
12-13 Dec 01 42% 50 8 -

Bob Dole

  Favorable Unfavorable Can't say Never
11-12 Mar 03 62% 22 14 2
30-31 Oct 96 44% 49 7 -
23-24 Oct 96 43% 45 12 -
15-16 Oct 96 46% 46 8 -
2-3 Oct 96 42% 48 10 -

Rudy Giuliani

  Favorable Unfavorable Can't say Never
11-12 Mar 03 74% 6 10 10
19-20 Sep 01 76% 6 10 8
9-10 Feb 00 39% 18 24 19
2-3 Jun 99 29% 19 22 30
28-29 Oct 98 31% 12 20 37
29-30 Jul 98 27% 10 18 45

8. Do you approve or disapprove of the job George W. Bush is doing as president?

  Approve Disapprove (DK)
11-12 Mar 03 60% 32 8
25-26 Feb 03 55% 33 12
11-12 Feb 03 57% 32 11
29-30 Jan 03 59% 28 13
14-15 Jan 03 63% 28 9
17-18 Dec 02 65% 26 9

9. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Tony Blair is doing as prime minister of Great Britain?

  Approve Disapprove (DK)
11-12 Mar 03 60% 8 32

10. Do you support or oppose U.S. military action to disarm Iraq and remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein? Is that (support/oppose) strongly or just somewhat?

>

  --- Support ---   --- Oppose ---
  TOT Strngly Smwht TOT Smwht Strngly (NS)
11-12 Mar 03** 71% 54 17 20 6 14 9
25-26 Feb 03** 71% 51 20 24 9 15 5
11-12 Feb 03** 69% 51 18 23 10 13 8
29-30 Jan 03** 67%      21      12
14-15 Jan 03** 67%     25       8
17-18 Dec 02** 65%      23     12 
19-20 Nov 02** 68%      18     14 
22-23 Oct 02 LV** 62%      27      11
8-9 Oct 02 LV** 72%      17      11
24-25 Sep 02 58%      27      15
8-9 Sep 02 66%      22      12
6-7 Aug 02 69%      22      9
9-10 Jul 02 72%      18      10
30 Apr-1 May 02 70%      20      10
30-31 Jan 02 74%      15      11
28-29 Nov 01* 77%      22     11 

**Added wording: " . . . to disarm Iraq and . . ."
*Wording: " . . . action against Iraq and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein"

11. It is estimated that the war in Iraq will cost each U.S. taxpayer about 300 dollars. Do you think it is worth 300 dollars per taxpayer to disarm Iraq and remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power?

1. Yes, it's worth it 69%
2. No, it's not worth it 23
3. (Not sure) 8

12. Which do you think is more likely -- Iraq is completely complying with the existing U.N. resolutions and disarming, or Iraq is lying to the United Nations and continuing to keep and build weapons?

1. Complying 4%
2. Lying 87
3. (Not sure) 9

13. Do you agree or disagree with the statement, "It's time to get it over with in Iraq and stop the uncertainty"?

  Agree Disagree (Not sure)
11-12 Mar 03 71% 21 8
11-12 Feb 02 56% 35 9

14. If President Bush agrees to the demands of France that inspections of Iraq be given at least six more months, would you feel:

1. More favorable toward President Bush, or 28%
2. Less favorable toward President Bush? 44
3. (Makes no difference) 19
4. (Not sure) 9

15. What do you think is the most important reason for the United States to take military action against Iraq?

1. Preventing Saddam from aiding terrorists 20
5. (Not sure) 11

16. Who do you think should make the final decision on security matters for the United States –- the United Nations or the United States? (ROTATE)

1. United Nations 21%
2. United States 74
3. (Not sure) 5

In the last few weeks, have you:

17. Said a prayer for peace?

1. Yes 81%
2. No 19
3. (Not sure) -

18. Said a prayer for President Bush?

1. Yes 61%
2. No 38
3. (Not sure) 1

19. Contacted an elected official about your position on the war?

1. Yes 12%
2. No 87
3. (Not sure) 1

20. Participated in any of the recent anti-war protests?

1. Yes 3%
2. No 97
3. (Not sure) -

21. Do you think anti-war protests are:

1. An effective way to stop war, or 16%
2. Just a way to make the participants feel better? 70
3. (Not sure) 14

22. Who do you think is doing more to achieve real peace in Iraq –- war protesters or soldiers?

1. Protesters 8%
2. Soldiers 75
3. (Both) 5
4. (Not sure) 12

23. Do you think there is any way for the United States to avoid war with Iraq now, or do you think war is inevitable?

1. Can avoid war 31%
2. War is inevitable 62
3. (Not sure) 7

(For reference) Do you think the United States will definitely go to war with Iraq or is there a chance that war will be prevented?
SCALE: 1. Definitely go to war 2. Chance war will be prevented 3. (Not sure)

  Definitely Chance prevented (NS)
11-12 Feb 03 63% 30 7
29-30 Jan 03 59% 31 10

24. Do you favor or oppose boycotting products from France and Germany for opposing the U.S. position on Iraq?

1. Favor 40%
2. Oppose 47
3. (Not sure) 13

25. Do you favor or oppose giving foreign aid only to countries that support the United States in the war on terror?

1. Favor 50%
2. Oppose 39
3. (Not sure) 11

26. If the United Nations fails to enforce its resolutions that require Iraq to give up weapons of mass destruction, do you think the United Nations will have become irrelevant?

1. Yes 57%
2. No 29
3. (Not sure) 14

27. If the U.S. goes to war with Iraq, do you think the threat of more terrorist strikes against the U.S. will:

1. Increase a lot, 33%
2. Increase a little, 34
3. Decrease a little, or 9
4. Decrease a lot? 7
5. (Stay the same) 10
6. (Not sure) 7

28. What about if the U.S. does NOT go to war with Iraq, do you think the threat of more terrorist strikes against the U.S. will:

1. Increase a lot, 25%
2. Increase a little, 33
3. Decrease a little, or 12
4. Decrease a lot? 4
5. (Stay the same) 18
6. (Not sure) 8

29. How likely do you think it is that homicide and suicide bombings, similar to those that happen in the Middle East, will start happening here in the U.S.?

1. Very likely 24%
2. Somewhat likely 40
3. Not very likely 20
4. Not at all likely 8
5. (Not sure) 8

30. Do you think the federal government is doing everything it can to prevent terrorist activity in the U.S.?

  Yes No (NS)
11-12 Mar 03 67% 27 6
18-19 June 02 55% 37 8

(For reference) Do you think the federal government is doing enough to prevent terrorist activity in the U.S.?

  Yes No (NS)
12-13 Mar 02 63% 28 9
17-18 Oct 01 51% 38 11
9-10 May 01 41% 37 22

31. If Iraq were to use weapons of mass destruction against U.S. troops or a neighboring country, would you support or oppose the United States using weapons of mass destruction in response?

1. Support 65%
2. Oppose 23
3. (Not sure) 12

32. Now that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the terrorist who is believed to have helped plan the 9/11 attacks, has been captured, what do you think should happen to him? If Mohammed is convicted for mass murder, what do you think is the appropriate penalty:

1. Death penalty, or 63%
2. Life in prison? 28
3. (Other) 3
4. (Not sure) 6

33. Do you favor or oppose allowing the government to use any means necessary, including physical torture, to obtain information from prisoners that might protect the United States from terrorist attacks?

  Favor Oppose (Depends) (Not sure)
11-12 Mar 03 44% 42 5 9
11-12 Mar 02* 41% 47 4 8

*asked as "would protect the United States"

(IF OPPOSE in Q40, n=375) If there were a possibility that a member of your own family could be saved, then would you favor or oppose allowing the government to use physical torture to obtain information from terrorist prisoners?

1. Favor 24%
2. Oppose 60
3. (Depends) 5
4. (Not sure) 11