Half of Americans say they are concerned that weapons of mass destruction (search) will never be found in Iraq, but even if the weapons are not found, a sizable majority thinks the war with Iraq was justified.
Back in February, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell (search) presented evidence gathered by the U.S. intelligence community to the United Nations Security Council (search) that was intended to prove Iraq was in violation of U.N. weapons resolutions.
The latest FOX News poll finds that a 41-percent plurality thinks U.S. prewar intelligence on Iraq’s weapons was "intentionally misleading," while about a quarter (26 percent) think the officials simply got it "wrong." Another 18 percent think the truth about the weapons intel lies somewhere between a mistake and an intentional deception.
Even so, 69 percent of the public thinks the war with Iraq was justified without ever finding the banned weapons, and 76 percent say they are more likely to believe the missing weapons have been destroyed or moved rather than that there were no weapons at all (16 percent). Two weeks ago, 82 percent believed the weapons had been moved or destroyed and 10 percent thought there never were any.
"The Bush administration is lucky that, at least so far, the American people seem to be taking the failure to find weapons of mass destruction less seriously than the press and people in other countries are taking it," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "While Tony Blair (search) seems to be in some real political danger from this failure, Americans seem to be giving the administration a pass, even as many of them say they have been misled about the facts."
By almost two-to-one, Americans think it’s time to forgive France and restore that friendship (61 percent) rather than remain distant (33 percent) because of their opposition to the U.S. military action against Iraq.
The new poll, which was conducted June 3-4 by Opinion Dynamics Corporation, also shows that many Americans think the United States and its allies are winning the war against terrorism.
Today, 57 percent think the United States is winning the war on terror, up from 37 percent the last time the question was posed in November 2002. Men are somewhat more likely than women to say the U.S. is winning (61 percent and 53 percent respectively), but the largest difference of opinion, not surprisingly, comes between the political parties.
Republicans are one-and-a-half times more likely than Democrats to say the U.S. is winning (74 percent to 47 percent), and those who approve of the job President Bush is doing are more than three times more likely than those who disapprove to say the U.S. is winning (72 percent to 22 percent).
Today, around half of the public (51 percent) think the government’s color-coded terror alert system is helpful (38 percent "not helpful"). While these findings are similar to those from earlier this year, they show a marked increased from late 2002 when the alert system had been in place about eight months. In November 2002, the public was divided on the helpfulness of the system, with 39 percent saying it was and 41 percent saying it was not helpful.
If Iran is proven to be aiding terrorist groups, a majority (61 percent) supports taking military action against that country, including 57 percent of women and 51 percent of Democrats.
Is Peace Possible?
Most Americans approve of President George W. Bush getting involved in Middle East peace negotiations, but remain skeptical that there will ever be peace in the region.
Fully 76 percent of the public approves of Bush taking a more active role in the negotiations, 18 percent disapprove. Earlier this week, the president attended a summit with Israel's Ariel Sharon (search) and Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas (search) and has publicly stated that he plans to stay involved. The meetings were held to discuss the "road map" to peace or Palestinian statehood.
However, only about a quarter of Americans (23 percent) think there will ever be peace in the Middle East.
Polling was conducted by telephone June 3-4, 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.
1. As of right now, do you think the U.S. and its allies are winning the war against terrorism?
2. Do you approve or disapprove of the Bush administration's handling of postwar reconstruction in Iraq?
3. Do you think there will ever be peace in the Middle East?
4. Do you approve or disapprove of President Bush taking a more active role in the Middle East peace negotiations?
(for reference, 12-13 Mar 02) Do you favor or oppose the United States taking a more active role in the Middle East peace negotiations?
5. In general, when history looks at the attempts of American presidents to take a direct role in Middle East peace negotiations, do you think it is more likely to conclude:
6. Even though France did not support the war in Iraq, do you think the United States should seek to restore a friendly relationship or remain distant?
7. So far, the United States has found mobile laboratories that might have been used to build weapons, but has not found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Do you think this is more likely because the weapons have been moved or destroyed, or because there were no weapons in the first place?
SCALE: 1. Weapons have been moved or destroyed 2. Were no weapons in the first place3. (Not sure)
8. How concerned are you that weapons of mass destruction will never be found in Iraq?
9. If weapons of mass destruction are never found in Iraq, do you think it is more likely that U.S. prewar intelligence was just wrong or that it was intentionally misleading?
10. Do you believe the United States going to war with Iraq was justified even if weapons of mass destruction are never found?
(for reference,8-9 Apr 03) Do you think the United States and coalition forces can declare victory even if weapons of mass destruction are never found?
11. Would you support or oppose the United States taking military action against Iran if it is proven that country is aiding terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda?
12. Do you think the government's color-coded terror alert system is helpful or not?