Public: If Iraq Fails Inspections, Second U.N. Resolution Needed for War

by David W. Moore

Finding weapons of mass destruction not enough justification for war

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- With U.N. inspectors set to begin checking potential weapons sites in Iraq on Wednesday, a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll finds nearly all Americans believing that Iraq does in fact have weapons of mass destruction or a program to produce them. Most Americans also believe that Saddam Hussein would use such weapons against the United States. But Americans are not ready to support an immediate U.S.-led invasion of Iraq at the first sign that Iraq has failed to comply with U.N. Resolution 1441. Instead, by almost a two-to-one majority, Americans say the United States should first go back to the United Nations and get specific authorization for military action.

The poll, conducted over the past weekend, Nov. 22-24, also shows that Americans do not feel that a war against Iraq would be justified if weapons of mass destruction were found, as long as Iraq then agreed to destroy such weapons. On the other hand, if Iraq blocks inspectors even one time from fulfilling their duties, Americans feel that action would be sufficient justification for war.

General support for an invasion of Iraq has remained about where it was earlier this month, with Americans in favor by a 58% to 37% margin.

Public Support for Invading Iraq
2001-2002

If the war were to involve "a significant number of ground troops in combat situations for at least a year," support would drop from 58% to 49%.

Americans Believe Iraq has Weapons of Mass Destruction and Would Use Them Against the United States

More than nine in 10 Americans (93%) believe that Iraq either has weapons of mass destruction now (66%) or is trying to develop them (27%). The percentage saying Iraq currently has such weapons has increased since last August, when 55% expressed that view.

Do you think Iraq currently has weapons of mass destruction, is trying to develop these weapons but does not currently have them, or is not trying to develop weapons of mass destruction?

Among those who believe that Iraq either has weapons or is trying to develop them, about four in five (79%) believe that Saddam Hussein would use them against the United States. This number is little changed from August.

Do you think Saddam Hussein would use those weapons of mass destruction to attack the United States, or not?

Despite these views, Americans appear quite ready to wait for the results of the official U.N. inspections before saying a war against Iraq would be justified. Indeed, a majority of Americans, 56%, say that if Iraq denies having weapons of mass destruction, that would not by itself justify an invasion of Iraq. Nor would the discovery of weapons of mass destruction constitute a justification for war, say most Americans (63%), as long as Iraq then agreed to destroy them. And only a bare majority, 52%, say a war would be justified if no weapons of mass destruction were found by the inspectors, even if they find the facilities to make them.


2002 Nov 22-24
(sorted by "yes, would justify")

Yes, would justify

No, would not

%

%

U.N. inspectors find weapons of mass destruction and Iraq refuses to destroy them

87

12

Iraq repeatedly blocks U.N. inspectors from entering several suspected weapons sites

84

15

Iraq blocks U.N. inspectors one time from entering a suspected weapons site

64

32

U.N. inspectors do not find weapons, but do find facilities designed to produce them

52

44

Iraq denies that it has any weapons of mass destruction

39

56

U.N. inspectors find weapons of mass destruction and Iraq agrees to destroy them

34

63

On the other hand, there are several instances in which a clear majority of Americans feel war against Iraq would be justified:

  • If Iraqi officials make any effort to block the inspectors, even one time, 64% of Americans say war would be justified.
  • If multiple efforts are made to block inspectors, the percentage of Americans saying those actions would be grounds for war increases to 84%.
  • Also, if weapons of mass destruction are found and Iraq does not destroy them, 87% of Americans say war would be justified.

Despite this support for war should Iraq not comply with the inspectors, Americans want the United Nations to give its authorization for such military action. Only 33% say the United States should bring military action against Iraq immediately, while 64% say the United States should go back to the United Nations for authorization.

Suppose Iraq does not comply with the U.N. resolution, which comes closer to your view about what the United States should do next? Should the United States -- begin military action against Iraq immediately, or should the United States go back to the United Nations for authorization to take military action against Iraq?
Nov 22-24, 2002

While Republicans are about evenly divided on this matter, both independents and Democrats show overwhelming majorities in favor of getting U.N. authorization.

If the U.N. inspectors find neither weapons of mass destruction nor the facilities to make them, American support for a war with Iraq would probably decline substantially. Only 26% of Americans (and just 45% of those who previously indicated they favor invading Iraq with ground troops), say they would favor an invasion if no evidence of weapons of mass destruction were found.

Bush Seen as Having Already Decided in Favor of War

By 58% to 38%, Americans believe that President Bush has already decided to go to war against Iraq, and that he has agreed to U.N. inspections mainly to gain international support for the action. Republicans lean against that point of view, with a slight majority, 54%, saying the president has not yet decided and has agreed to the U.N. inspections to determine if an invasion is necessary. But by very large majorities, independents and Democrats believe Bush has already made up his mind: independents, by 60% to 34%; and Democrats, by 70% to 27%.

Which comes closer to your view about President Bush -- Bush has already decided to invade Iraq and has agreed to U.N. inspections mainly to gain international support for that action, or Bush has not yet decided whether to invade Iraq and has agreed to U.N. inspections mainly to determine if an invasion of Iraq were necessary?
Nov 22-24, 2002

While some foreign policy commentators have argued that Saddam Hussein has already violated U.N. Resolution 1441 by firing on American planes over Iraq after the resolution was passed, most Americans seem unaware of this argument. Only 30% of Americans say that Iraq's actions since the resolution was passed constitute a violation, while 18% disagree, and more than half, 52%, say they don't know enough to say.

As you may know, on Nov. 8, the United Nations passed a resolution requiring Iraq to cooperate with U.N. inspectors who are looking for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Thinking about Iraq's actions since the U.N. passed that resolution, do you think these actions do -- or do not -- represent violations of the U.N. resolution, or don't you know enough to say?
Nov 22-24, 2002

Survey Methods

The latest results are based on telephone interviews with 1,017 national adults, aged 18+, conducted Nov. 22-24, 2002. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±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.

Would you favor or oppose invading Iraq with U.S. ground troops in an attempt to remove Saddam Hussein from power?

 

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

%

%

%

2002 Nov 22-24

58

37

5

2002 Nov 8-10

59

35

6

2002 Oct 21-22

54

40

6

2002 Oct 14-17 ^

56

37

7

2002 Oct 3-6

53

40

7

2002 Sep 20-22 ^

57

38

5

2002 Sep 13-16 †

57

39

4

2002 Sep 5-8 ^ †

58

36

6

2002 Sep 2-4 †

58

36

6

2002 Aug 19-21 †

53

41

6

2002 Jun 17-19 ^ †

61

31

8

2001 Nov 26-27 ‡

74

20

6

2001 Feb 19-21 ‡

52

42

6

1993 Jun 29-30 ‡

70

27

3

1992 Mar 30-Apr 5 ‡ ?

55

40

5

^

Asked of half sample.

WORDING: Would you favor or oppose sending American ground troops to the Persian Gulf in an attempt to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq?

WORDING: Would you favor or oppose sending American troops back to the Persian Gulf in order to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq?

?

Life Magazine/Gallup.



Would you favor or oppose sending American ground troops to Iraq if that meant the U.S. would have a significant number of ground troops in combat situations for at least a year?

BASED ON --586-- ADULTS WHO FAVOR INVADING IRAQ WITH GROUND TROOPS

 

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

2002 Nov 22-24

84%

15

1

2002 Aug 19-21

78%

19

3



COMBINED RESPONSES (Q.9-10)

 

Nov. 2002

Aug. 2002

%

%

Favor invading Iraq with ground troops to remove Saddam from power

58

53

(Favor if ground troops in combat situations for at least a year)

(49)

(41)

(Oppose if ground troops in combat situations for at least a year)

(9)

(10)

(Unsure)

(*)

(2)

Oppose invading Iraq with ground troops to remove Saddam from power

37

41

No opinion

5

6



Do you think Iraq currently has weapons of mass destruction, is trying to develop these weapons but does not currently have them, or is not trying to develop weapons of mass destruction?

 

Currently has weapons

Is trying to develop weapons

Is not trying to develop weapons

No
opinion

2002 Nov 22-24

66%

27

2

5

2002 Aug 19-21

55%

39

1

5

2002 Feb 8-10 ^

55%

40

2

3

^

WORDING: Do you think -- [RANDOM ORDER: Iran, Iraq, North Korea] -- currently has weapons of mass destruction, is trying to develop these weapons but does not currently have them, or is not trying to develop weapons of mass destruction?



Do you think Saddam Hussein would use those weapons of mass destruction to attack the United States, or not?

BASED ON --948-- ADULTS WHO SAY IRAQ CURRENTLY HAS WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION OR IS TRYING TO DEVELOP WEAPONS

 

Yes, would use

No, would not

No opinion

2002 Nov 22-24

79%

20

1

2002 Aug 19-21

83%

15

2



COMBINED RESPONSES (Q.11-12)

 

2002 Nov 22-24

2002 Aug 19-21

%

%

Iraq currently has weapons of mass destruction

66

55

(Hussein would use weapons to attack the U.S.)

(56)

(48)

(Hussein would not use weapons to attack the U.S.)

(10)

(7)

(Unsure)

(*)

(*)

Iraq is trying to develop weapons of mass destruction

27

39

(Hussein would use weapons to attack the U.S.)

(18)

(30)

(Hussein would not use weapons to attack the U.S.)

(8)

(8)

(Unsure)

(1)

(1)

Iraq is not trying to develop weapons of mass destruction

2

1

No opinion

5

5



As you may know, on Nov. 8, the United Nations passed a resolution requiring Iraq to cooperate with U.N. inspectors who are looking for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Thinking about Iraq's actions since the U.N. passed that resolution, do you think these actions do -- or do not -- represent violations of the U.N. resolution, or don't you know enough to say?

 


Yes, do


No, do not

Don't know enough to say

No
answer

2002 Nov 22-24

30%

18

52

0



Do you think these violations are serious enough to justify a U.S. invasion of Iraq, or not?

BASED ON --296-- ADULTS WHO SAY IRAQ'S ACTIONS REPRESENT VIOLATIONS OF THE U.N. RESOLUTION

 

Yes, are

No, are not

No opinion

2002 Nov 22-24

59%

37

4



COMBINED RESPONSES (Q.13-14)

 

2002 Nov 22-24

%

Yes, do represent violations to resolution

30

(Yes, serious enough to justify U.S. invasion of Iraq)

(18)

(No, not serious enough to justify U.S. invasion of Iraq)

(11)

(Unsure)

(1)

No, do not represent violations to resolution

18

Don't know enough to say

52

No answer

0



Suppose Iraq does not comply with the U.N. resolution, which comes closer to your view about what the United States should do next? Should the United States -- [ROTATED: begin military action against Iraq immediately, (or should the United States) go back to the United Nations for authorization to take military action against Iraq]?

 


Begin military action immediately

Go back to U.N. for authorization to take military action


No
opinion

2002 Nov 22-24

33%

64

3



As you may know, on Nov. 27 United Nations weapons inspectors will begin searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, including biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. In your view, would each of the following outcomes of those inspections justify a U.S. invasion of Iraq, or not? How about if -- [ITEMS READ IN ORDER]?

A. Iraq denies that it has any weapons of mass destruction

 

Yes, would justify

No, would not

No opinion

2002 Nov 22-24

39%

56

5



B. Iraq blocks U.N. inspectors one time from entering a suspected weapons site

 

Yes, would justify

No, would not

No opinion

2002 Nov 22-24

64%

32

4



C. Iraq repeatedly blocks U.N. inspectors from entering several suspected weapons sites

 

Yes, would justify

No, would not

No opinion

2002 Nov 22-24

84%

15

1



D. U.N. inspectors do not find weapons of mass destruction, but do find facilities designed to produce them

 

Yes, would justify

No, would not

No opinion

2002 Nov 22-24

52%

44

4



E. U.N. inspectors find weapons of mass destruction and Iraq agrees to destroy them

 

Yes, would justify

No, would not

No opinion

2002 Nov 22-24

34%

63

3



F. U.N. inspectors find weapons of mass destruction and Iraq refuses to destroy them

 

Yes, would justify

No, would not

No opinion

2002 Nov 22-24

87%

12

1



SUMMARY TABLE: JUSTIFICATION FOR U.S. INVASION OF IRAQ


2002 Nov 22-24
(sorted by "yes, would justify")

Yes, would justify

No, would not

%

%

U.N. inspectors find weapons of mass destruction and Iraq refuses to destroy them

87

12

Iraq repeatedly blocks U.N. inspectors from entering several suspected weapons sites

84

15

Iraq blocks U.N. inspectors one time from entering a suspected weapons site

64

32

U.N. inspectors do not find weapons, but do find facilities designed to produce them

52

44

Iraq denies that it has any weapons of mass destruction

39

56

U.N. inspectors find weapons of mass destruction and Iraq agrees to destroy them

34

63

Suppose U.N. inspectors conduct weapons inspections in Iraq and find no evidence of weapons of mass destruction or facilities where they could be produced. Would you then favor or oppose invading Iraq with U.S. ground troops in an attempt to remove Saddam Hussein from power?

BASED ON --586-- ADULTS WHO FAVOR INVADING IRAQ WITH GROUND TROOPS

 

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

2002 Nov 22-24

45%

52

3



COMBINED RESPONSES (Q.9/Q.17)

 

2002 Nov 22-24

%

Favor invading Iraq with ground troops to remove Saddam from power

58

(Favor even if U.N. inspectors find no evidence of weapons)

(26)

(Oppose if U.N. inspectors find no evidence of weapons)

(30)

(Unsure)

(2)

Oppose invading Iraq with ground troops to remove Saddam from power

37

No opinion

5



Which comes closer to your view about President Bush -- [ROTATED: Bush has already decided to invade Iraq and has agreed to U.N. inspections mainly to gain international support for that action, (or) Bush has not yet decided whether to invade Iraq and has agreed to U.N. inspections mainly to determine if an invasion of Iraq were necessary]?

 

Already decided, inspection to gain support

Has not yet decided, inspections to
determine


No
opinion

2002 Nov 22-24

58%

38

4



* -- Less than 0.5%.

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Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/7303/Public-Iraq-Fails-Inspections-Second-UN-Resolution-Needed-War.aspx
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