war in iraq


Bush, War and public opinion

Support for President On Iraq still strong but four out of five americans want an International Coalition and full U.N. support

January 25, 2003

NEW YORK, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- As U.N. weapons inspectors prepare to give their first major report to the Security Council and President George W. Bush prepares his State of the Union address, the latest Newsweek Poll of 1,001 adults aged 18 and over, shows that just over a third of Americans (36%) say U.N. inspectors should be given one month or less to complete their mission before the U.S. takes military action against Iraq. But a 59 percent majority think the inspectors should be given at least "several months" more time, and four in 10 (41%) feel the inspectors should have as much time as they need. In addition, 66 percent say that it's more important for the U.S. to take more time to achieve our goals in Iraq without using military force than to strike soon. This figure is up six percentage points from a Newsweek Poll taken last week on January 16-17, 2003. Thirty-two percent believe it is more important to act quickly.

The support for military action against Iraq dropped three percentage points in the Newsweek Poll to 60 percent, down from 63 percent last week. However, 81 percent of Americans would still support U.S. military action against Iraq if the U.S. joins together with its major allies and has the full backing of the U.N. Security Council. Public support falls to 40 percent if only one or two allies are part of the coalition without U.N. support, and to 31 percent if the U.S. acts alone without U.N. support. In addition, 60 percent of those polled think that if the U.S. takes military action against Iraq, it would create serious divisions between the U.S. and its allies. This figure is up 6 percentage points from last week. Thirty-two percent thought it would not.

Nonetheless, Americans are willing to give President Bush the benefit of the doubt. More than half (52%) say they would support U.S. military action if U.N. weapons inspectors do not find evidence that Iraq has chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, but the Bush administration says its intelligence reports indicate that Iraq does have such weapons. Forty-one percent would oppose military action if no evidence is found.

Prior to next week's State of the Union address, President Bush's job approval rating stands at 55 percent, one point lower than last week's poll. Thirty-eight percent now say they disapprove of Bush's job performance, the highest disapproval figure recorded in the Newsweek poll since President Bush took office. Support for Bush's handling of the war against terrorism overseas remains relatively steady at 57 percent. Seventy percent of those polled approve of Bush's policies to prevent and minimize terrorism at home. Fifty-three percent approve of Bush's policies to deal with the threat posed by Iraq and its leader Saddam Hussein.

But the economy remains a sore spot; half of those polled (50%) percent disapprove of Bush's handling of the economy. And almost half (44%) believe that in the next two years before the president faces re-election, the economy and jobs should take priority over terrorism and national security. Thirty-four percent, or just over a third, believe that national security and the fight against terrorism should take priority over the economy and jobs for the remainder of the president's term.


war in iraq