NEW YORK – Overall support for President Bush and the U.S.-led military action remains strong as the third week of attacks on Afghanistan continues, according to the latest FOX News/Opinion Dynamics national poll.
Large majorities of Americans not only support the U.S. military action (87 percent) and approve of how it is being conducted (82 percent). Americans also favor continuing the action even if other countries were to withdraw their support (77 percent). About three-quarters think the military action has been aggressive enough and 18 percent say not enough.
The military action in Afghanistan makes 45 percent feel safer, but 21 percent feel less safe because it might provoke more terrorist attacks. Most acknowledge the president's request for patience with fully 80 percent expecting the war against terrorism to last a year or more.
Concern over the recent anthrax attacks has remained steady over the last two weeks, even as anthrax is discovered in new locations on an almost daily basis. Fifteen percent are "very worried" that they or someone close to them might be exposed to anthrax.
Just over one-third (35 percent) report making changes in how they handle mail because of anthrax threats. Not surprisingly, this number is higher in the Northeast (41 percent) and South Atlantic (43 percent) regions — the two regions of the country that have received most of the anthrax scares thus far.
A majority (76 percent) approves of the job the Bush administration has done in responding to the anthrax attacks. Slightly more think the anthrax scares are the work of homegrown terrorists (35 percent) as opposed to terrorists from foreign countries (29 percent), with 20 percent thinking it could be both foreign and domestic. About two-thirds think it is likely those responsible for the anthrax attacks will be caught.
Majorities support a variety of aggressive measures to stop future terrorist attacks. Eighty-three percent support allowing the government to hold suspected terrorists as long as deemed necessary, 71 percent support allowing the CIA to use any means necessary to get information (including "physical force"), and 65 percent favor temporarily stopping all immigration into the U.S. during the war on terrorism.
A large majority of the country continues to approve of the job President Bush is doing (84 percent). When asked to compare Bush's job performance to expectations, 59 percent think the president is doing a better job than expected and 35 percent say he's meeting their expectation. Only three percent think Bush is doing worse than expected (five percent of Democrats, two percent of Republicans, and three percent of Independents).
"So far the carping and complaining from small groups on the right and the left are not having a visible impact on public attitudes toward the administration," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "Most people seem content to follow the president’s lead on the issue of fighting terrorism and leave the details up to him and the administration. Obviously events may change things, but for the moment ‘United We Stand’ seems to be holding as the motto of the day."
Polling was conducted by telephone October 31-November 1, 2001 in the evenings. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ± 3 percentage points.
1. Do you approve or disapprove of the job George W. Bush is doing as president?
2. Overall, is President Bush doing a better job than you expected, a worse job or is the job he's doing about what you expected?
3. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Tom Ridge is doing as director of Homeland Security?
4. Is President Bush a stronger leader than you expected, a weaker leader, or is he about what you expected?
SCALE: 1. Stronger leader than expected 2. Weaker leader than expected 3. Same as expected 4. (Not sure)
5. Do you approve or disapprove of the job the Bush administration has done in responding to the anthrax attacks?
6. Do you support* or oppose the U.S. military action being taken in response to the terrorist attacks?
* asked before 17-18 Oct 01 as "would you Favor/Oppose"
7. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. military action in Afghanistan is being conducted?
8. (If Q7 disapprove, n=85) Do you disapprove because the attacks are:
9. Right now, most other countries around the world support the U.S.-led military action in Afghanistan in the war against terrorism. Would you favor or oppose the U.S. continuing military action on its own even if other countries withdrew their support?
10. Do you think you clearly understand the goals that the Bush administration has set in Afghanistan?
11. President Bush and his administration have been criticized by some for not pursuing the war in Afghanistan aggressively enough. President Bush urged people to be patient. Do you feel that the military action in Afghanistan has been pursued aggressively enough or not?
12. Not just counting Afghanistan, how long do you think the current war against terrorism will last?
SCALE: 1. A few more weeks 2. A few more months 3. A year or more 4. (Not sure)
* "How long do you think this current war against terrorism will last -- A few weeks, a few months, a year or more?"
13. Does the U.S. military action in Afghanistan make you feel:
14. Do you think the anthrax scares across the country are more likely being done by terrorists from foreign countries or homegrown terrorists from the U.S.?
15. How likely do you think it is that those responsible for the recent anthrax attacks will be caught?
How likely do you think it is that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was involved in:
16. The September 11 terrorist attacks?
17. The recent anthrax attacks?
18. Do you favor or oppose temporarily sealing U.S. borders and stopping all immigration into the U.S. during the war on terrorism?
19. If terrorists use weapons of mass destruction, such as radioactivity or nuclear weapons, would you favor or oppose the U.S. using nuclear weapons in response?
20. How worried are you that you personally or a family member or friend will be exposed to bio-terrorism, such as anthrax?
SCALE: 1. Very worried 2. Somewhat worried 3. Not very worried 4. Not at all worried 5. (Already happened) 6. (Not sure)
21. Have you made any changes in how you handle your mail because of the anthrax threat?
22. Do you feel like things are getting back to normal since September 11? Would you say that things are:
SCALE: 1. Completely back to normal 2. Somewhat back to normal 3. Not back to normal 4. (Not sure)
23. And what about you personally -- are you feeling back to normal?
SCALE: 1. Yes, completely back to normal 2. Somewhat back to normal 3. No, not back to normal 4. (Not sure)
24. Do you think that most Americans truly feel as if the country is at war, or not?
25. Do you approve or disapprove of the job the media is doing covering the war on terrorism?
26. Do you think the media coverage of the Bush administration and its handling of the war in Afghanistan has been:
27. Do you support or oppose allowing the government to hold suspected terrorists as long as deemed necessary, possibly a year or more?
28. Do you support or oppose allowing the CIA to use any means necessary, including physical force, when trying to get information that would protect the United States from future terrorist attacks?
29. At the next meeting of the Federal Reserve Board next week, do you think the Board should:
SCALE: 1. Cut interest rates 2. Raise interest rates 3. Leave them unchanged 4. (Not sure)
30. Who do you think is most responsible for the current condition of the economy?
31. A year from now, do you think the stock market will be higher, lower or about the same as it is now?
SCALE: 1. Higher 2. Lower 3. The same 4. (Not sure)
32. How confident are you in the federal government's ability to handle the economy?
33. Since September 11, are you saving more money or spending more money than you were before the terrorist attacks?
34. Since September 11 millions of dollars have been given to charities to help the victims. Some people are worried that much of this giving is not reaching those for whom it is intended. How concerned are you that September 11 charity funds may be misused?
35. Do you agree or disagree: "People of the Muslim faith in the United States have a special obligation to help authorities track down terrorists and defeat Usama bin Laden?"