NEW YORK – Support for U.S. military action and the country's leaders remains strong, but there is decreasing support for some anti-terrorism measures being discussed and implemented on the home front, according to the latest FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll.
Americans overwhelmingly continue to support the U.S.-led military action in Afghanistan. Ninety-one percent support the action, which is essentially the same level of support as in the initial days following the terrorist attacks.
And as the country looks beyond Afghanistan in the war on terrorism, 77 percent support military action against Iraq and its leader Saddam Hussein.
Approval of President Bush's job performance remains extraordinarily high (86 percent approve), although some partisan differences are apparent. Almost all Republicans approve of the job Bush is doing (97 percent); 85 percent of Independents and 75 percent of Democrats give their approval. The gender gap seen in Bush's approval before September has disappeared, with both men and women now giving the president similar ratings.
Though Vice President Dick Cheney has rarely been seen in recent weeks, a widespread majority approves of the job he's doing (73 percent). Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld receives an 80 percent approval rating and Attorney General John Ashcroft earns 69 percent approval.
The good will also flows toward the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. More than two-thirds of those polled say Congress is "doing enough to support the war on terrorism." Only 20 percent think Congress should be doing more.
Almost half of Americans (47 percent) favor a one-time tax to provide money for New York City to rebuild its damaged subways and buildings (39 percent oppose).
"The support for a new tax to rebuild New York City shows how special this situation is," says Lawrence Shiman, a director at Opinion Dynamics Corporation. "The American public rarely supports new taxes, regardless of how worthy the cause."
More than half also support redirecting U.S. foreign aid funds toward rebuilding areas damaged on Sept. 11 and to pay for the war on terrorism. Tying foreign aid funding to a country's cooperation on capturing terrorists is also endorsed by most (84 percent).
But the poll also shows decreasing support for domestic measures designed to curb terrorism.
Support for allowing police to stop and search anyone meeting the general description of the suspected terrorists has decreased by 11 percent. Similarly, support for allowing the monitoring of e-mail and phone communications has decreased by 14 percent.
A majority endorsed increased government monitoring of private communications following Sept. 11. A majority now opposes monitoring. Those favoring gas rationing in order to reduce the country's dependence on Middle East oil imports also declined (53 percent in September to 39 percent today), with half now in opposition.
In contrast, 67 percent of Americans approve of the Justice Department's plan to question 5,000 Middle Eastern immigrants. In addition, two-thirds favor allowing the government to hold suspected terrorists as long as necessary without a trial.
While 64 percent think President Bush has the right to bypass the normal judicial system and ask for a military tribunal for suspected terrorists, 57 percent think the suspects should be tried in the regular court system rather than in a military tribunal setting.
For Usama bin Laden, Americans think the question of military tribunal versus regular court may be moot; 66 percent think that rather than being caught by the U.S. he'll commit suicide. Almost as many Americans would want to see bin Laden assassinated (43 percent) as those who want to see him captured and brought to trial in the U.S. (45 percent). Even more (50 percent) would like to see Iraqi leader Hussein assassinated, up from 34 percent earlier this year.
Polling was conducted by telephone November 28-29, 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. Do you approve or disapprove of the job John Ashcroft is doing as attorney general?
3. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Donald Rumsfeld is doing as secretary of defense?
4. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Condoleezza Rice is doing as national security adviser?
5. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Dick Cheney is doing as vice president?
6. Do you think Congress is doing enough to support the war against terrorism, or not?
7. 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")
8. As of right now, do you think the U.S. and its allies are winning the war against terrorism?
9. How important do you think it is for the U.S. government to maintain the international alliance of countries that are supporting the current U.S. military action?
10. Would you like to see the twin towers of the World Trade Center rebuilt as they were, would you prefer to see completely different buildings there, or do you think there should be a monument and no building?
* Harris Poll
11. Do you favor or oppose a one-time tax to provide money for New York City to rebuild its subways, trains, and buildings that were damaged on Sept. 11?
12. Would you support or oppose the U.S. government ending or substantially cutting foreign aid and instead using the money to rebuild areas damaged by the terrorist attacks and pay for the war on terrorism?
13. Would you support or oppose tying U.S. foreign aid to the willingness of each country to root out and capture terrorists and actively prevent further terrorism?
14. As part of the war on terrorism, the federal government wants to question 5,000 Middle Eastern immigrants on the basis of their religion or nationality. Some local officials have refused to perform the questioning, suggesting the government needs to show more cause to question the visitors. Do you approve or disapprove of the government questioning these individuals?
Please tell me if you favor or oppose each of the following possible solutions that have been proposed as ways of dealing with terrorism.
SCALE: 1. Favor 2. Oppose 3. (Not sure)
15. Allowing police to stop and search anyone who fits the general description of suspected terrorists.
16. Rationing gasoline and oil to reduce the country's dependence on imports of Middle East oil.
17. Allowing the government to increase monitoring of private telephone and e-mail communications.
18. Allowing the government to hold suspected terrorists as long as deemed necessary without a trial, possibly a year or more.
*added "without a trial"
19. Do you favor or oppose requiring all security personnel, whether at airports, banks or other public facilities, to be U.S. citizens?
20. When Usama bin Laden or other terrorists are brought to trial, in which court do you think they should be tried?
21. Do you think suspected terrorists should be tried in a non-public military tribunal, in which the names of the defendants and the evidence is withheld, or should they be tried in the normal justice system?
22. Do you think the president has the right to bypass the normal judicial system and ask for a military tribunal for suspected terrorists?
23. How involved do you think the United States should be in re-building Afghanistan?
24. President Bush has said that Usama bin Laden is wanted "dead or alive." Would you prefer to see bin Laden assassinated or captured and brought to trial in the U.S.?
SCALE: 1. Prefer assassination 2. Prefer capture and trial 3. (Not sure)
25. If Usama bin Laden is found, do you think he will be found alive, or do you think he will commit suicide rather than be caught by the United States?
26. Do you support or oppose U.S. military action against Iraq and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein?
27. Do you support or oppose military air strikes on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons sites in Iraq?
28. (If support, n=655) Do you support air strikes even if countries like France, Russia and China object?
29. Do you think the United States should attempt to assassinate Saddam Hussein?
30. How likely do you think it is that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks?
SCALE: 1. Very likely 2. Somewhat likely 3. Not very likely 4. Not at all likely 5. (Not sure)