Most Americans support a war, even if the U.S. faces Iraq alone

Andrew Pritchard

Most Americans favor removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq but would prefer the United States coordinate with its allies, recent polls show.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sept. 30 found while 61 percent of Americans overall supported military action to remove Hussein, support fell to 46 percent if U.S. allies opposed the plan.

An ABC News poll taken in August found 69 percent favored military action, with 54 percent still supporting it without the help of U.S. allies.

Forty percent of Americans in that survey said they would support military action even if a “significant number” of U.S. troops were killed or wounded.

Similarly, a New York Times poll published Oct. 7 found 67 percent of Americans supported military action against Iraq, and 65 percent said the United States should wait for its allies’ support before acting.

Seventy percent of Americans believe war with Iraq is inevitable.

The number supporting military action fell to 54 percent when the prospect of significant American casualties was raised, and 49 percent said they would still support military action if many Iraqi civilians were killed.

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Oct. 7 also found support for invading Iraq with ground troops has fallen.

The poll found 53 percent of the public favoring a ground invasion, down from 74 percent who favored that move last November and 61 percent in June.

A Newsweek poll published in late September found 63 percent of Americans in favor of war with Iraq.

Fifty-nine percent of Americans in that poll also said President George W. Bush should get U.N. approval, 58 percent wanted approval from U.S. allies in Europe, and 52 percent thought the United States should get support from its Arab allies.

It’s still the economy

But the Times poll also found 69 percent of Americans believe the president is not paying enough attention to the economy.

That proportion is higher – 83 percent – among Democrats, but more than half of Republicans also believe the president should devote more attention to economic issues.

Just over half the public – 57 percent – said they would be more likely to vote based on a candidate’s position on the economy, while one quarter said they would be influenced more by a candidate’s foreign-policy positions.

More Americans want to hear candidates talk about the economy – 70 percent – than about war with Iraq – 17 percent.

Congress

Fifty-one percent of Americans polled by the Times thought Congress was not asking enough questions about Bush’s Iraq policy, while one-fifth thought members of Congress asked too many questions.

Two-thirds of Americans in the Newsweek poll said Bush should get congressional approval before attacking Iraq.


Andrew Pritchard covers state politics and welcomes comments at [email protected]