Most Americans Still Rallying Behind Bush and War on Terrorism

by Mark Gillespie

Most still not convinced the U.S. is winning the war

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- As the United States and its allies target Taliban installations inside Afghanistan with sustained military attacks, the Bush administration continues to receive unprecedented levels of support from the American people. A new Gallup poll conducted the weekend of Oct. 11-14 shows that 89% approve of President George W. Bush's overall job performance and 92% approve of the decision to launch air strikes against Afghanistan in retaliation for the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Bush Approval Remains High

President Bush's job approval ratings over the past month remain at near record levels. The current 89% rating is just one point lower than the record 90% measured in Gallup's Sept. 21-22 poll. All of Bush's recent ratings rank among the highest Gallup has ever recorded -- particularly remarkable in comparison to Bush's 50%-range job approval ratings in the weeks leading up to Sept. 11.

George W. Bush's Job Approval Rating

Strong Support for Troops; Many Starting to Claim Victory

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently commented that U.S. troops "aren't running out of targets . . . Afghanistan is running out of targets." Despite this expression of confidence by one of the war's principals, most Americans are thus far not convinced that the United States and its allies are winning the war on terrorism. A slight plurality -- 44% -- believes neither side has an edge yet, while 42% believe the U.S.-led forces are winning. Only 11% believe the terrorists are currently winning the war. This stands in sharp contrast to responses to a similar question in January and February 1991, as the Persian Gulf War was underway. At that time, two-thirds to three-quarters of Americans said that the United States and its allies were winning the war against Iraq.

Fear of Becoming a Terrorist Victim Falls

Despite a number of highly-publicized incidents in which anthrax may have been used as a weapon against major American media outlets and corporations, the level of fear among Americans that they or their families will become victims of a terrorist attack have fallen somewhat during the past week. A slight majority -- 51% -- says they are very or somewhat worried about the potential, while 49% say they are not worried. A week ago -- before the U.S. air strikes on Afghanistan began -- 59% of those surveyed in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll expressed their worries about becoming victims of an attack. The percentage of Americans who are "very" worried about being the victim of a terrorist attack has gone from 24% in the Oct. 5-6 poll to 18% this past weekend. (The weekend poll was conducted Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 11-14; about two thirds of the interviews were completed after the release of first reports of the anthrax-containing letters.)

Worried About Becoming the Victim of a Terrorist Attack?
% "very" or "somewhat" worried

Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,011 adults, 18 years and older, conducted Oct. 11-14, 2001. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?

 

 

 

Ap-
prove

Disap-
prove

No opin-
ion

       
 

%

%

%

(NA) 2001 Oct 11-14

89

8

3

       

(NA) 2001 Oct 5-6

87

10

3

(NA) 2001 Sep 21-22

90

6

4

(NA) 2001 Sep 14-15

86

10

4

(NA) 2001 Sep 7-10

51

39

10

(NA) 2001 Aug 24-26

55

36

9

(NA) 2001 Aug 16-19

57

34

9

(NA) 2001 Aug 10-12

57

35

8

(NA) 2001 Aug 3-5

55

35

10

(NA) 2001 Jul 19-22

56

33

11

(NA) 2001 Jul 10-11

57

35

8

(NA) 2001 Jun 28-Jul 1

52

34

14

(NA) 2001 Jun 11-17

55

33

12

(NA) 2001 Jun 8-10

55

35

10

(NA) 2001 May 18-20

56

36

8

(NA) 2001 May 10-14

56

31

13

(NA) 2001 May 7-9

53

33

14

(NA) 2001 Apr 20-22

62

29

9

(NA) 2001 Apr 6-8

59

30

11

(NA) 2001 Mar 26-28

53

29

18

(NA) 2001 Mar 9-11

58

29

13

(NA) 2001 Mar 5-7

63

22

15

(NA) 2001 Feb 19-21

62

21

17

(NA) 2001 Feb 9-11

57

25

18

(NA) 2001 Feb 1-4

57

25

18



Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?

 

 

 


Ap-
prove


Disap-
prove

No
opin-
ion

   

 

Ap-
prove


Disap-
prove

No
opin-
ion

                 
 

%

%

%

   

%

%

%

2001

       

1996

     

2001 Oct 11-14

84

10

6

 

1996 Oct 26-29

34

51

15

         

1996 Aug 5-7

39

49

12

2001 Sep 7-10

42

44

14

 

1996 May 9-12

30

65

5

2001 Aug 16-19

50

37

13

 

1996 Apr 9-10

35

57

8

2001 Aug 3-5

47

42

11

 

1995

     

2001 Jul 19-22

49

37

14

 

1995 Sep 22-24

30

61

9

2001 Jun 11-17

51

34

15

 

1995 Aug 28-30

30

60

10

2001 May 10-14

49

34

17

 

1995 Jul 7-9

35

55

10

2001 Apr 6-8

55

32

13

 

1995 May 11-14

34

57

9

2001 Mar 5-7

55

28

17

 

1995 Apr 17-19

37

54

9

2001 Feb 1-4

53

32

15

 

1995 Mar 27-29

31

61

8

2001 Jan 10-14

50

40

10

 

1995 Mar 17-19

32

59

9

2000

       

1995 Feb 24-26

35

53

12

2000 Dec 2-4

56

34

10

 

1995 Feb 3-5

38

53

9

2000 Oct 6-9

49

42

9

 

1995 Jan 16-18

33

52

15

2000 Aug 29-Sep 5

48

42

10

 

1994

     

2000 May 18-21

39

52

9

 

1994 Dec 28-30

23

66

11

2000 Jan 7-10

51

42

7

 

1994 Oct 22-25

23

70

7

1999

       

1994 Oct 7-9

21

73

6

1999 Sep 23-26

37

56

7

 

1994 Jul 15-17

27

65

8

1999 Jul 13-14

39

51

10

 

1994 Mar 25-27

29

63

8

1999 Jun 11-13

41

53

6

 

1994 Feb 26-28

28

66

6

1999 Apr 13-14

45

47

8

 

1993

     

1999 Feb 12-13

41

54

5

 

1993 Nov 2-4

24

69

8

1999 Jan 15-17

50

46

4

 

1993 Aug 8-10

23

69

8

1998

       

1993 Jul 19-21

24

65

11

1998 Dec 15-16

42

52

6

 

1993 Feb 26-28

27

54

19

1998 Nov 13-15

41

54

5

 

1992

     

1998 Oct 29-Nov 1

44

47

9

 

1992 Mar 3 ^

18

78

3

1998 Oct 9-12

47

46

7

 

1991

     

1998 Oct 6-7

44

48

8

 

1991 Oct 10-13

40

54

6

1998 Sep 11-12

55

36

9

 

1991 Jul 25-28

32

53

15

1998 May 8-10

44

48

8

 

1990

     

1998 Apr 17-19

49

40

11

 

1990 Nov 2-4

26

63

11

1998 Feb 13-15

57

33

10

 

1990 Oct 25-28

24

68

8

1998 Jan 30-Feb 1

56

35

9

 

1990 Oct 18-21

23

64

13

1998 Jan 16-18

42

47

11

 

1990 Oct 11-14

28

65

7

1997

       

1988

     

1997 Dec 18-21

39

52

9

 

1988 Sep 9-11

42

42

16

1997 Oct 27-29

36

53

11

 

1987

     

1997 Aug 22-25

41

48

11

 

1987 Aug 24-Sep 2

42

49

9

1997 Jul 25-27

34

57

9

 

1986

     

1997 May 6-7

32

58

10

 

1986 Apr 11-14

42

37

21

1997 Apr 18-20

30

59

11

 

1983

     

1997 Feb 24-26

37

48

15

 

1983 Apr 29-May 2

33

43

24

1997 Jan 31-Feb 2

36

51

13

 

1982

     

1997 Jan 10-13

41

49

10

 

1982 Jun 11-14

29

54

17



 

 

 

Approve


Disapprove

No
opinion

       
 

%

%

%

1981

     

1981 Jun 19-22

38

40

22

1980

     

1980 Jun 13-16

25

56

19

1979

     

1979 Jun 1-4

19

61

20

1978

     

1978 Sep 8-11

29

49

22

1977

     

1977 Sep 9-12

35

44

21

1977 Aug 5-8

36

44

20

1977 Jun 3-6

34

42

24

1977 May 20-23

40

40

20

1977 Mar 25-28

36

42

22

1976

     

1976 Jan 23-26

24

58

18

1975

     

1975 Oct 31-Nov 3

28

54

18

1975 Jun 27-30

29

54

17

1975 Apr 18-21

38

48

14

1975 Feb 28-Mar 3

32

50

18

1974

     

1974 Oct 11-14

35

43

22

1974 Aug 16-19

30

47

23

1974 Apr 12-15

30

47

23

 

^ Gallup/Newsweek



How worried are you that you or someone in your family will become a victim of a terrorist attack -- very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried, or not worried at all?

 

 


Very worried


Somewhat worried


Not too worried

Not
worried
at all

KNOW A VICTIM (vol.)


No
opinion

             
 

%

%

%

%

%

%

2001 Oct 11-14

18

33

35

14

*

*

             

2001 Oct 5-6

24

35

27

14

*

*

2001 Sep 21-22

14

35

32

18

*

1

2001 Sep 14-15

18

33

35

13

*

1

2001 Sep 11 ^

23

35

24

16

1

1

2000 Apr 7-9 †

4

20

41

34

--

1

1998 Aug 20 ^ ‡

10

22

38

29

--

1

1996 Jul 20-21 †

13

26

34

27

--

*

1996 Apr 9-10 #

13

22

33

32

--

*

1995 Apr 21-23 #

14

28

33

24

--

1

             

^

Based on one night poll of 619 national adults with a margin of error of ±4 pct. pts.

Asked of a half sample.

WORDING: How worried are you that someone in your family will become a victim of a terrorist attack similar to the bombing in Oklahoma City?

#

WORDING: How worried are you that you or someone in your family will become a victim of a terrorist attack similar to the bombing in Oklahoma City?



Do you favor or oppose the United States taking direct military action in Afghanistan?

BASED ON -- 485 -- NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM A; ±3 PCT. PTS.

 

 

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

       

2001 Oct 11-14

88%

10

2

       

2001 Oct 5-6

82%

14

4

2001 Sep 21-22

82%

13

5



Do you approve or disapprove of the United States decision to take military action in Afghanistan?

BASED ON -- 526 -- NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM B; ±2 PCT. PTS.

 

 

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

       

2001 Oct 11-14

92%

7

1



Who do you think is currently winning the war against terrorism -- [ROTATED: the U.S. and its allies, neither side, or the terrorists]?

 

 

U.S. and
its allies

Neither
side

The
terrorists

No
opinion

         

War on Terrorism

       

2001 Oct 11-14

42%

44

11

3


Persian Gulf War ^

U.S. and
its allies

Neither
side


Iraq

No
opinion

         

1991 Feb 14-17

75%

21

1

3

1991 Jan 19-22

66%

26

*

3

         

^

Who do you think is currently winning the war in the Persian Gulf -- the U.S. and its allies, Iraq, or neither side?



(vol.) -- Volunteered Response

* -- Less than 0.5%

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