Most Americans see Iraq's 12,000-page weapons declaration as a stalling tactic, and a large majority supports military action against Iraq and Saddam.
Only 10 percent of the public think the document Iraqi officials delivered to the United Nations is a serious submission, while fully 79 percent think it is a stalling strategy by Saddam Hussein, according to the latest FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll. The voluminous Iraqi document was submitted as part of the U.N. resolution passed last month; under the resolution, Iraq had to disclose its weapons programs by December 8.
Also as part of the U.N. resolution, inspectors were sent to Iraq in late November to investigate weapons programs. A slim majority (53 percent) approves of the job the weapons inspectors are doing in Iraq, 21 percent disapprove and the remaining 26 percent are unsure.
Support for U.S. military action to disarm Iraq and remove Saddam from power remains strong. Today, 65 percent of the public support such action while 23 percent oppose. In addition, more Americans think the Bush administration is using Iraq as an example to other countries (45 percent), than think the White House is too focused on Iraq at the expense of other threats (36 percent).
"Saddam has clearly not swayed the American people with either his gestures toward the U.N. inspectors or his massive report," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "The public continues to believe that he is a danger and that action against him is justified."
Indeed, of the three countries that President Bush described as the "axis of evil," a plurality continues to view Iraq as the country that poses the most imminent danger to the United States. Forty-three percent think Iraq is the greatest threat to the U.S., followed by North Korea (23 percent), and Iran (8 percent), while 15 percent think the threat is equal from each.
Since October, there has been an eight percentage point increase in the number who see North Korea as the country posing the greatest immediate danger, those naming Iran has doubled, while Iraq has dropped six points in the last two months.
Just under half of the public would be willing to pay at least some additional amount in taxes for increased homeland security. On a separate question, enthusiasm for paying more in taxes for increased national defense and intelligence gathering has dropped considerably over the last year.
About one-third of Americans today would pay higher taxes if the money were dedicated to defense and intelligence, down from 71 percent immediately following the terrorist attacks (October 2001).
Terrorism, war, and homeland security are all issues that continue to rank high on the priority list for Americans, but the importance of the economy has gone up dramatically over the last several months. Today, 44 percent say the economy is the most important issue, up from 30 percent in August. The issue of terrorism holds steady at 25 percent, homeland security is up slightly at 17 percent, and "war" is named as the top priority by 13 percent (up from seven percent four months ago).
Looking ahead, the public sees 2003 as a less peaceful year. A majority (57 percent) thinks next year the world will be a less peaceful place, while an optimistic 23 percent say it will be more peaceful, and 10 percent think it will be as peaceful as 2002.
Polling was conducted by telephone December 17-18, 2002 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. Do you approve or disapprove of the job George W. Bush is doing as president?
2. Do you approve or disapprove of the job the weapons inspectors are doing in Iraq?
3. What do you think are the two most important issues for the federal government to address? (Do Not Read)
4. Next year, do you think the world will be a more peaceful or less peaceful place?
5. Which of the following countries do you think poses the greatestimmediate danger to the United States? (Randomize)
6. Some people say the Bush administration is too focused on Iraq and not paying enough attention to other threats; other people say the Bush administration is using Iraq as an example to other countries and groups that support terrorists. Which is closer to your opinion?
7. Do you support or oppose U.S. military action to disarm Iraq and remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein?
** Wording: " . . .to disarm Iraq and . . ."
* Wording: " . . .action against Iraq and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein"
8. Iraq delivered a 12,000-page document to the United Nations that Iraqi officials say proves the country does not have weapons of mass destruction. Do you think this is a serious document or is this a stalling tactic by Saddam Hussein?
9. How much money, in addition to your current taxes, would you be willing to give to the federal government each year to spend on increased homeland security?
10. Do you think too much of your paycheck goes to taxes, too little goes to taxes, or do you think you pay the right amount in taxes?
11. Which bothers you more -- how much you pay in taxes, or how your taxes are spent?
12. Would you be willing to pay more in taxes if the money were used specifically to increase government spending on national defense and intelligence gathering?