Public Approves of Bush Ultimatum by More Than 2-to-1 Margin

by David W. Moore

Most Americans worried about war, but expect success

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- President George W. Bush announced last night that Saddam Hussein has but 48 hours to leave Iraq or face war. A quick reaction poll by CNN/USA Today and Gallup finds more than 2-to-1 support for that ultimatum. The poll, conducted in the hour and a half after Bush's address to the nation, also finds that about a third of those who approve of Bush's decision are unsure about the merits of war, but are simply following the president's lead. While most Americans are worried about the possibility of war within the next few days, four of five expect the United States to prevail. But a much smaller number, 53%, believe war with Iraq will make the United States safer.

Overall, 66% of Americans approve of Bush's decision to go to war unless Saddam Hussein leaves Iraq within 48 hours, while 30% disapprove.

March 17, 2003

By a similar margin, 68% to 28%, Americans also say that the United States has done all it can do to solve the crisis with Iraq diplomatically.

Public Divided on Whether War Is the Right Thing, But Many Trust in the President

For months, President Bush has been trying to persuade the American public that a war against Saddam Hussein might be necessary to disarm Iraq and prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The poll suggests that 44% of Americans have been convinced by the president's arguments, and thus support his decision. Another 21% of Americans are unsure if war is the right thing, but support Bush anyway because he is the president. Thirty percent take an opposing point of view.

Do you approve or disapprove of Bush's decision
to go to war if Saddam Hussein does not leave Iraq in the next 48 hours?
March 17, 2003

The poll also shows that most people, 70%, are "worried" about the possibility of going to war in the next few days. A bare majority feels "confident," while just under a majority feels "afraid." Only 31% feel "relieved."

Feelings About Possibility of Going to War
in the Next Few Days
March 17, 2003

High Expectations for Success

Despite the widespread worry, four of five Americans, 79%, expect the United States to be successful in ousting Saddam Hussein from power. Only 53%, however, believe that a war with Iraq will make the United States safer.

March 17, 2003

Reinforcing the widespread expectation of success is the fact that only about a third of Americans predict that the number of all people killed in the war will be "high." Almost six in 10 expect there to be no more than a "moderate" number of deaths: 37% "moderate," 21% "low," and 4% "almost none."

Public Prediction of Total Number of People Who May Be Killed in War Against Iraq, Including Americans, Iraqis, and Others
March 17, 2003

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 776 national adults, aged 18+, conducted March 17, 2003. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±4 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.

Polls conducted entirely in one day, such as this one, are subject to additional error or bias not found in polls conducted over several days.

As you may know, the United States decided today that it would withdraw the latest U.N. resolution concerning disarmament of Iraq. In a speech to the nation tonight, President Bush announced that the U.S. will go to war with Iraq unless Saddam Hussein leaves Iraq in the next 48 hours.

Do you approve or disapprove of Bush's decision to go to war if Saddam Hussein does not leave Iraq in the next 48 hours?

 

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

2003 Mar 17

66%

30

4



Which comes closer to your view [ROTATED: you support going to war because you think it is the best thing for the U.S. to do (or) you are not sure if going to war is the best thing to do, but you support Bush's decision because he is president]?

COMBINED RESULTS (Q.1-2)

 

2003 Mar 17

%

Approve

66

(Right thing to do)

(44)

(Not sure if right thing, but supporting president)

(21)

(Unsure)

(1)

Disapprove

30

No opinion

4



Do you think the United States has done all it can do to solve the crisis with Iraq diplomatically, or not?

 

Yes, has

No, has not

No opinion

%

%

%

2003 Mar 17

68

28

4

2003 Feb 7-9

54

42

4

2002 Dec 9-10

52

44

4

2002 Oct 3-6

46

49

5

1991 Jan 11-13

60

33

7



Please tell me if the possibility of going to war in the next few days makes you, personally, feel -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

 

2003 Mar 17

Yes, feel

No, do not

No opinion

Worried

70%

29

1

Confident

52%

43

5

Afraid

48%

51

1

Relieved

31%

66

3



If the U.S. goes to war with Iraq, do you think it will be successful or unsuccessful in its goal of removing Saddam Hussein from power?

 

Successful

Not successful

No opinion

2003 Mar 17

79%

13

8



Do you think a war against Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power will make the U.S. more safe or less safe from terrorism?

 

More safe

Less safe

No opinion

2003 Mar 17

53%

38

9



Do you think the total number of people killed in a war against Iraq, including Americans, Iraqis and others, would be [ROTATED: high, moderate, low (or) almost none]?

 


High

 

Moderate


Low

Almost none

No
opinion

2003 Mar 17

34%

37

21

4

4



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