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
8. Do you approve or disapprove of the job George W. Bush is doing as president?
9. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Tony Blair is doing as prime minister of Great Britain?
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?
**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?
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?
13. Do you agree or disagree with the statement, "It's time to get it over with in Iraq and stop the uncertainty"?
14. If President Bush agrees to the demands of France that inspections of Iraq be given at least six more months, would you feel:
15. What do you think is the most important reason for the United States to take military action against Iraq?
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)
In the last few weeks, have you:
17. Said a prayer for peace?
18. Said a prayer for President Bush?
19. Contacted an elected official about your position on the war?
20. Participated in any of the recent anti-war protests?
21. Do you think anti-war protests are:
22. Who do you think is doing more to achieve real peace in Iraq –- war protesters or soldiers?
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?
(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)
24. Do you favor or oppose boycotting products from France and Germany for opposing the U.S. position on Iraq?
25. Do you favor or oppose giving foreign aid only to countries that support the United States in the war on terror?
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?
27. If the U.S. goes to war with Iraq, do you think the threat of more terrorist strikes against the U.S. will:
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:
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.?
30. Do you think the federal government is doing everything it can to prevent terrorist activity in the U.S.?
(For reference) Do you think the federal government is doing enough to prevent terrorist activity in the U.S.?
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?
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:
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?
*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?