Most Americans approve of President Bush's recent order giving the CIA license to use deadly force to bring down Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
A FOX News/Opinion Dynamics national poll taken this week, immediately following disclosure of the president's order, shows a large majority of American voters (75 percent) approve of the CIA being authorized to remove Hussein, 14 percent disapprove and 11 percent have no opinion.
Republicans are strongest in their approval at 83 percent, while 71 percent of Independents and 69 percent of Democrats approve. Atypical of what can be found with many military-type questions, there are no gender differences here. Fully 74 percent of women and 75 percent of men back Hussein's removal.
"These results suggest that the Bush administration has done a good job in building the case against Saddam and his link to the terrorist threat against America," remarked Ernest Paicopolos, a principal of Opinion Dynamics.
When asked more specifically whether the United States should attempt to assassinate Hussein, a slim majority (55 percent) says yes (32 percent no). This is the highest endorsement of the U.S. attempting Saddam's assassination since the question was first asked in 1997. The only other time the response has been over half was in December 1998, as the U.S. was launching air strikes on Iraq after it failed to cooperate with weapons inspectors. At that time, 51 percent of Americans said an attempt should be made to assassinate Hussein.
Americans see Saddam as a greater threat to the United States than Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden. A plurality thinks (36 percent) Hussein poses a greater threat to the country compared to 21 percent who think the greater threat comes from bin Laden. About one-third (34 percent) think Hussein and bin Laden pose an equal danger to the nation. These numbers are similar to findings earlier this year.
Iraq is considered a "major threat" to the United States by a majority of Americans (55 percent), a "minor threat" by over one-third (35 percent), while fewer than five percent say Iraq is "no threat at all."
Polling was conducted by telephone June 18-19, 2002 in the evenings. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ± 3 percentage points.
1. Who do you think poses a greater danger to the United States today?
SCALE: 1. Al Qaeda Leader Usama bin Laden 2. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein 3. (Neither) 4. (Both equal) 5. (Not sure)
2. Do you approve or disapprove of President Bush authorizing the CIA to use deadly force to bring down Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein?
3. Do you think the United States should attempt to assassinate Saddam Hussein?
4. How much of a threat do you think Iraq poses to the safety of the United States? Would you say that Iraq is: