Religion and Social Trends

Americans See Need for U.S. Role in Resolving Problems in Iraq, Israeli-Palestinian Dispute

Six in 10 say these should be very important U.S. foreign policy goals

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ – The summit of Arab nations concludes today in Lebanon and has focused worldwide attention on the continuing issues in the Middle East and Arab world. A new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll finds that 58% of Americans say that a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be a very important foreign policy goal of the United States, up slightly from February and at the highest point it has been since Gallup began measuring this in 1991. About the same number, 60%, says that removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq should be a very important U.S. foreign policy goal. Americans assign greater importance to both of these international issues than to settling the conflicts in Northern Ireland (24% said it should be very important goal in a February Gallup poll) and between India and Pakistan (47%). A majority of Americans favors using military strikes against Iraq and arming and training opposition forces there, but the public is divided over whether the United States should use its own ground troops in Iraq.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

In recent weeks the tension between the Israelis and Palestinians has increased with more violence between the two sides. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat decided not to travel to the Arab League summit in large part because Israel threatened to block his return if more violence occurred during his absence. A major focus of the summit is a Palestinian-Israeli peace plan advanced by Saudi Arabia. The new poll, conducted Mar. 22-24, finds a majority of Americans, 58%, saying that the development of a peaceful solution in this conflict should be a very important policy goal of the U.S., the highest it has been. An additional 30% of Americans say the peace in this region should be a somewhat important goal, and only 11% say it should not be an important goal. Greater than seven in 10 Americans say they would support the Bush administration applying economic and diplomatic pressure on both sides to try to reach a peaceful solution in the Middle East.

Peace In the Middle East as a Policy Goal for the United States

Americans believe both sides are to blame for the current violence in the Middle East, with the Palestinians getting slightly more of the blame. Eighty-two percent of Americans believe the Palestinians deserve blame for the current violence, including 40% who say they deserve a great deal of blame. Slightly less, 72%, assign blame to the Israelis, including 26% who say they deserve a great deal of blame.

Blame for Violence in Middle East?
March 22-24, 2002

Iraq

Six in 10 Americans also say removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq should be a very important U.S. foreign policy goal; only 11% say it should not be that important. Americans have consistently favored military action against Iraq, dating back to the early stages of the Persian Gulf War. The latest poll, however, shows that Americans do not favor all possible courses of military action against that nation. The largest level of support is for using military air strikes, which 67% of Americans favor and 29% oppose. Americans are less supportive of arming and training Iraqi opposition forces (without using U.S. forces directly), with 53% in favor and 42% opposed. The public is divided over whether to use U.S. ground troops to invade Iraq, and slightly more Americans actually oppose this course of action now (50%) than favor it (46%).

Support for Military Action Against Iraq
March 22-24, 2002

Men, who tend to be more supportive of military action in general, favor all of the military options more than do women. However, men are evenly divided on the use of ground troops, with 49% in favor and 49% in opposition. Women oppose the use of ground troops by a 51% to 43% margin. Those who describe themselves as politically conservative are much more likely to favor the use of ground troops (54%) than political liberals (32%).

About one-quarter of Americans favor extensive use of U.S. ground troops in Iraq, both in terms of the amount of time they would be willing to have ground troops remain in Iraq, and in the number of deaths of Americans military personnel they would be willing to withstand. Twenty-four percent of Americans favor the use of ground troops for more than five years if it takes that long, while 17% favor using them for two years or less and 4% favor using them for three to five years.

USE OF GROUND TROOPS IN IRAQ, BY DURATION

 

 

2002 Mar 22-24

%

Favor use of ground troops in Iraq

46

(For less than one year)

(8)

(For one-two years)

(9)

(For three-five years)

(4)

(For more than five years)

(24)

(Unsure)

(1)

Oppose use of ground troops in Iraq

50

No opinion

4



Twenty-four percent of Americans also favor the use of ground troops regardless of the number of U.S. military fatalities, while 20% believe the use of troops should be halted if the number of American military service people killed is too high.

USE OF GROUND TROOPS IN IRAQ, BY CASUALTIES

 

 

2002 Mar 22-24

%

Favor use of ground troops in Iraq

46

(Use regardless of people killed)

(24)

(Stop when those killed becomes too high)

(20)

(Unsure)

(2)

Oppose use of ground troops in Iraq

50

No opinion

4



Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,011 adults, 18 years and older, conducted March 22-24, 2002. 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.

As far as you are concerned, should the development of a peaceful solution to the Palestinian/Israeli situation in the Middle East be a very important foreign policy goal of the United States, a somewhat important goal, not too important, or not an important goal at all?

 

Very important

Somewhat important

Not too important

Not at all important

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2002 Mar 22-24

58

30

5

6

1

2002 Feb 4-6

54

30

7

6

3

2001 Feb 1-4

43

40

10

5

2

2000 Jul 6-9

34

43

14

6

3

2000 Jan 25-26

32

46

12

6

4

1999 Jul 22-25

41

41

9

6

3

1993 Sep 10-112

41

36

11

8

4

1991 Mar

46

41

6

5

2



How much do you blame the -- [ITEMS ROTATED] -- for the current violence in the Middle East -- a great deal, a moderate amount, not very much, or none at all?

A.Israelis

 

Great
deal

Moderate amount

Not very
much

None
at all

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2002 Mar 22-24

26

46

14

10

4



B.Palestinians

 

Great
deal

Moderate amount

Not very
much

None
at all

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2002 Mar 22-24

40

42

10

4

4



Suppose the Bush administration decides to apply economic and diplomatic pressure to -- [ITEMS ROTATED] -- to try to reach a peaceful solution in the Middle East. Would you support that, or not?

A.Israel

 

 

Support

Not support

No opinion

%

%

%

2002 Mar 22-24

74

23

3



B.The Palestinian Authority

 

 

Support

Not support

No opinion

%

%

%

2002 Mar 22-24

80

17

3



Would you favor or oppose the U.S. taking the following steps against Iraq? How about -- [ITEMS READ IN ORDER]?

A.Arming and training Iraqi opposition forces but not using U.S. forces directly

 

 

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

%

%

%

2002 Mar 22-24

53

42

5



B.Using military air strikes but no U.S. ground troops

 

 

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

%

%

%

2002 Mar 22-24

67

29

4



C.Using U.S. ground troops to invade Iraq

 

 

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

%

%

%

2002 Mar 22-24

46

50

4



How long would you be willing to use ground troops in Iraq -- less than one year, one to two years, three to five years, or more than five years if it takes that long?

BASED ON -- 453 -- ADULTS THAT FAVOR USE OF GROUND TROOPS IN IRAQ; ±5 PCT. PTS.

 

Less than

one year

One-two years

Three-five years

More than five years

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2002 Mar 22-24

17

19

8

53

3



Continuing to think about how the U.S. government should deal with Iraq -- which would you prefer if the U.S. does send ground troops to Iraq -- [ROTATED: to use ground troops regardless of how many U.S. military service people are killed, (or) to stop using ground troops if the number of U.S. military service people who are killed becomes too high]?

BASED ON -- 453 -- ADULTS THAT FAVOR USE OF GROUND TROOPS IN IRAQ; ±5 PCT. PTS.

 

 

Use regardless
of people killed

Stop when those killed becomes too high

No
opinion

%

%

%

2002 Mar 22-24

43

52

5



As far as you are concerned, should the removal of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq be a very important foreign policy goal of the U.S., a somewhat important goal, not too important, or not an important goal at all?

 


Very important


Somewhat important


Not too important

Not important
at all


No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2002 Mar 22-24

60

28

6

5

1



Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/5533/Americans-See-Need-US-Role-Resolving-Problems-Iraq-Israel.aspx Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A +1 202.715.3030