Religion and Social Trends

Public Support for Invasion of Iraq Holds Steady

Fifty-nine percent in favor of invading Iraq

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- A new CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll shows 59% of Americans in favor of invading Iraq with ground troops in an attempt to remove Saddam Hussein from power. That level of support is unchanged from last week, and down slightly from the 63% found shortly after U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's U.N. speech arguing for military action against Iraq. In general, the percentage of supporters has changed little over the last five months. Roughly half the public says their mind is made up on invading Iraq, while about half say they could change their mind. The outcome of the U.N. debate on Iraq remains pivotal to Americans' thinking: thirty-eight percent of Americans favor an invasion even if the United Nations does not approve a new resolution -- sponsored by the United States, Great Britain, and Spain -- that calls for an authorization of war. However, 40% oppose an invasion if the resolution does not pass.

The poll was conducted Feb. 24-26, with most interviews completed prior to President George W. Bush's national address on Iraq Wednesday night. Fifty-nine percent of Americans favor and 37% oppose a U.S. invasion of Iraq. Support for an Iraq invasion has generally been just below 60% since the end of January, following the State of the Union address. It only exceeded 60% shortly after Powell's much-publicized speech before the United Nations on Feb. 5.

Public Support for Invading Iraq
June 2002-February 2003

About half the public -- 47%-- say they could change their mind on invading Iraq, while 49% say their mind is already made up. The 49% whose mind is made up comprises 32% who favor invading and 17% who oppose, while the 47% who could change their mind currently show a slight preference for invading (27%) over not invading (20%).

Certainty of Public Attitudes About Invading Iraq

In the past few weeks, since the Powell U.N. speech, the percentage of Americans who favor an invasion and say their mind is made up has fallen back slightly, from 37% to 32%. The percentage that is certain they oppose an invasion has not changed in that time, holding firm at 20%.

Partisanship continues to be an important predictor of Americans' views on Iraq. A majority, 51%, of Republicans favor invading Iraq and say their mind is made up, and an additional 31% favor but say they could change their mind, for a total of 82% of Republicans in favor. In contrast, just 22% of Democrats favor invading Iraq and say their mind is made up, while an additional 22% favor but could change their mind, for a total of just 44% of Democrats in favor of invading Iraq. The largest percentage of Democrats, 28%, say they oppose military action against Iraq and their mind is made up. A total of 52% of independents favor invading Iraq, with slightly more saying they could change their mind (28%) than saying their mind is made up (24%).

Support Could Shift Depending on Events

Most Gallup polling on the Iraq issue to date clearly shows that the public's support for invading Iraq is subject to change depending on events. One key finding is that U.N. backing could significantly increase support for military action against Iraq, while lack of U.N. backing could decrease support. This week, the United States, Great Britain, and Spain sponsored a new resolution calling for the United Nations to authorize war against Iraq, citing Iraq's failure to comply with prior U.N. resolutions requiring the disarmament of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

The new poll shows that 40% of Americans say they would favor invading Iraq only with U.N. approval of the new resolution. A roughly equal percentage, 38%, would favor an invasion even without U.N. approval, and about one in five Americans say the United States should not send ground troops to Iraq at all. As such, roughly four in five Americans say they would support war against Iraq if the United Nations authorized it.

Support for Invading Iraq Contingent on
U.N. Approval of New Resolution
Feb 24-26, 2003

Another recent development in the Iraq story is chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix's call to Iraq to begin destroying its Al Samoud 2 missiles by this Saturday, March 1. Iraq's willingness to comply with this demand might also cause Americans' opinions to shift -- about four in 10 Americans say this could affect their view. Thirty-three percent favor an invasion even if Iraq destroys the missiles, and 22% are opposed even if Iraq does not destroy them.

While Americans may not understand the specifics of the missile situation, the willingness of so many to say they would shift their position depending on whether or not Iraq destroys the missiles is further evidence that the public's attitudes on Iraq are relatively loosely held.

View on Invading Iraq In Light of Iraq Complying with UN Demand to Destroy Missiles

 

2003 Feb 24-26

%

Favor even if Iraq destroys missiles

33

Favor but might oppose if Iraq destroys missiles

26

Oppose but might favor if Iraq does not destroy missiles

15

Oppose even if Iraq does not destroy missiles

22

No opinion

4



Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,003 adults, 18 years and older, conducted Feb. 24-26, 2003. 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.

Next, we'd like to ask you some questions about Iraq. First,

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

%

%

%

2003 Feb 24-26

59

37

4

2003 Feb 17-19

59

38

3

2003 Feb 7-9

63

34

3

2003 Jan 31-Feb 2

58

38

4

2003 Jan 23-25

52

43

5

2003 Jan 10-12

56

38

6

2003 Jan 3-5 ^

56

39

5

2002 Dec 19-22 ^

53

38

9

2002 Dec 16-17 ^

58

35

7

2002 Dec 9-10

55

39

6

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 invading Iraq with U.S. ground troops in an attempt to remove Saddam Hussein from power? Would you say – [ROTATED: your mind is made up about invading Iraq, (or) you could change your mind about invading Iraq]?

COMBINED RESPONSES

 

2003

2003

2003

Feb 24-26

Feb 7-9

Jan 31-Feb 2

%

%

%

Favor invading Iraq with U.S. ground troops

59

63

58

(Mind is made up about invading Iraq)

(32)

(37)

(31)

(Could change mind about invading Iraq)

(27)

(26)

(27)

Oppose invading Iraq with U.S. ground troops

37

34

38

(Mind is made up about invading Iraq)

(17)

(14)

(13)

(Could change mind about invading Iraq)

(20)

(20)

(25)

No opinion

4

3

4



As you may know, the U.S., Great Britain, and Spain plan to submit a resolution to the United Nations that says that Iraq is in serious violation of prior U.N. resolutions that required Iraq to disarm. Do you think the United States should invade Iraq with ground troops – [ROTATED: only if the U.N. approves this new resolution, even if the U.N. does not approve this new resolution], or do you think the United States should not send ground troops to Iraq at all?

 


Only if U.N. approves

Even if U.N. does not approve

Should not send troops
at all


No
opinion

2003 Feb 24-26

40%

38

19

3



As you may know, the United Nations chief weapons inspector has ordered Iraq to destroy certain missiles it has by March 1 in order to show it is cooperating with U.N. resolutions calling on Iraq to disarm.

Suppose Iraq DOES destroy these missiles. Would you still favor invading Iraq with ground troops, or would this cause you to change your mind and oppose invading Iraq?

BASED ON –594—ADULTS WHO FAVOR INVADING IRAQ WITH GROUND TROOPS

 

Still favor

Would then oppose

No opinion

2003 Feb 24-26

55%

40

5



.

Suppose Iraq DOES NOT destroy these missiles. Would you still oppose invading Iraq with ground troops, or would this cause you to change your mind and favor invading Iraq?

BASED ON –366—ADULTS WHO OPPOSE INVADING IRAQ WITH GROUND TROOPS

 

Still oppose

Would then favor

No opinion

2003 Feb 24-26

60%

32

8



Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/7891/public-support-invasion-iraq-holds-steady.aspx Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A +1 202.715.3030