Religion and Social Trends

Seventy-Two Percent of Americans Support War Against Iraq

Bush approval up 13 points to 71%

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

Seventy-two percent of Americans interviewed in a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll conducted Saturday and Sunday favor the war against Iraq, while 25% are opposed. Roughly the same number approve of the job President George W. Bush is doing.

The percentage supporting the war is just slightly lower than the 76% approval registered last Thursday night -- the day after hostilities began -- but remains significantly higher than support levels in the weeks and months leading up to the beginning of hostilities. Approval levels for the concept of war had been running in the high 50% range in the months leading up to last week. Support increased to 66% on Monday night, March 17, after President Bush made his "ultimatum" speech in which he pledged military action if Saddam Hussein did not leave Iraq, and, as noted, jumped to 76% on Thursday night.

The level of support for the war against Iraq is slightly more muted than was the case just after the first Persian Gulf War began in January 1991. At that time, 80% of Americans supported the decision to begin the air war in the effort to drive the Iraqis out of Kuwait.

Both those who support and those who oppose the current war say they hold their views strongly. Out of the total of 72% who favor the military action, about four in five (59% of all Americans) say they support it strongly. At the other end of the spectrum, of the 25% who oppose military action, roughly two-thirds (17% of all Americans) oppose it strongly.

Opinion of the War With Iraq
March 22-23, 2003

Additionally, most of those who support military action do so because they approve of the general policy aims of the war. More than 8 out of 10 of those who favor the war say they do so because it is the right thing for the United States to do, while only about 2 out of 10 say they support it not because it is the right thing to do, but because they want to show support for the troops in Iraq.

Bush Job Approval

President George W. Bush's job approval rating is now at 71%. This represents a jump of 13 points from last weekend -- an expected "rally effect" increase that usually accompanies U.S. involvement in war or a situation in which Americans are in harm's way on foreign shores.

George W. Bush's Job Approval Rating:
2003

The current rating for Bush is 11 points lower than the 82% job approval rating the American public gave his father after the Persian Gulf War began in 1991.

How Well is the War Going?

About half of Americans -- 53% -- say the war has gone very well so far, while most of the rest say it has gone moderately well. Only 8% feel it has gone badly. An analysis of the difference between the responses obtained to this question on Sunday as compared to those obtained on Saturday shows a significant drop in the percentage saying it has been going "very" well. This no doubt reflects the more sobering news coverage as the weekend developed of the resistance allied troops have faced, the fact that the coalition forces have suffered casualties, including Americans killed in action, and the visibility given to the televised pictures of what Iraqis claim are American prisoners of war.

Opinion of How the War Is Going
March 22-23, 2003

Americans have become somewhat less optimistic about the possible length of the war against Iraq. The weekend poll shows that 28% say the war will be over in less than a month, while 33% say it will last four months or more. As recently as Thursday night, a slightly higher 34% thought it would be over in less than a month.

The current estimates of the war's length are still more optimistic than those measured at the beginning of the Persian Gulf War in January 1991.

The substantial majority of Americans, 75%, are convinced that there will be several hundred or fewer casualties as a result of the war. Despite the weekend's news reports, that estimate is higher than the 65% who felt that way last Thursday night, and remains substantially more optimistic than the initial estimates of casualties obtained as the first Persian Gulf War began.

Eighty-four percent of Americans say the United States and its allies are winning the war. Virtually no Americans say Iraq is winning, while 14% believe neither side is winning. There was little change on this measure as the weekend progressed.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Allied commanders on Sunday said they had not yet found evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Despite that, almost 9 out of 10 Americans believe it is at least somewhat likely that the United States will find conclusive evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or the facilities to develop them.

How necessary is it that such weapons be found in order to justify the initiation of the war? The American public is split on the issue: 41% believe that it will be necessary to find such weapons for the war to be justified, and almost as many, 38%, say the war will be justified regardless of whether such weapons are found, while 15% say they don't support the war in either case.

Public Following War Closely

Sixty-three percent of Americans have been following news of the war closely, which is quite high on a relative basis as far as most news events go, but is slightly lower than the 70% who were following the news of the first Persian Gulf War closely a few days after it began on Jan. 16, 1991.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with -- 1,020 -- national adults, aged 18+, conducted March 22-23, 2003. 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.

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

 


Approve

Disapprove

No
opinion

%

%

%

2003

2003 Mar 22-23

71

25

4

2003 Mar 14-15

58

38

4

2003 Mar 3-5

57

37

6

2003 Feb 24-26

57

37

6

2003 Feb 17-19

58

37

5

2003 Feb 7-9

61

34

5

2003 Feb 3-6

59

35

6

2003 Jan 31-Feb 2

61

35

4

2003 Jan 23-25

60

36

4

2003 Jan 20-22

58

36

6

2003 Jan 13-16

61

34

5

2003 Jan 10-12

58

37

5

2003 Jan 3-5

63

32

5

2002

2002 Dec 19-22

61

32

7

2002 Dec 16-17

63

33

4

2002 Dec 9-10

63

32

5

2002 Dec 5-8

64

29

7

2002 Nov 22-24

65

28

7

2002 Nov 11-14

66

26

8

2002 Nov 8-10

68

27

5

2002 Oct 31-Nov 3

63

29

8

2002 Oct 21-22

67

28

5

2002 Oct 14-17

62

31

7

2002 Oct 3-6

67

28

5

2002 Sep 23-26

68

26

6

2002 Sep 20-22

66

30

4

2002 Sep 13-16

70

26

4

2002 Sep 5-8

66

30

4

2002 Sep 2-4

66

29

5

2002 Aug 19-21

65

28

7

2002 Aug 5-8

68

26

6

2002 Jul 29-31

71

23

6

2002 Jul 26-28

69

26

5

2002 Jul 22-24

69

24

7

2002 Jul 9-11

73

21

6

2002 Jul 5-8

76

18

6

2002 Jun 28-30

76

19

5

2002 Jun 21-23

73

21

6

2002 Jun 17-19

74

20

6

2002 Jun 7-8

74

18

8

2002 Jun 3-6

70

23

7

2002 May 28-29

77

17

6

2002 May 20-22

76

17

7

2002 May 6-9

76

19

5


Approve

Disapprove

No
opinion

%

%

%

2002

2002 Apr 29-May 1

77

20

3

2002 Apr 22-24

77

17

6

2002 Apr 8-11

75

20

5

2002 Apr 5-7

76

19

5

2002 Mar 22-24

79

17

4

2002 Mar 18-20

79

16

5

2002 Mar 8-9

80

14

6

2002 Mar 4-7

77

18

5

2002 Mar 1-3

81

14

5

2002 Feb 8-10

82

14

4

2002 Feb 4-6

82

14

4

2002 Jan 25-27

84

13

3

2002 Jan 11-14

83

13

4

2002 Jan 7-9

84

12

4

2001

2001 Dec 14-16

86

11

3

2001 Dec 6-9

86

10

4

2001 Nov 26-27

87

8

5

2001 Nov 8-11

87

9

4

2001 Nov 2-4

87

9

4

2001 Oct 19-21

88

9

3

2001 Oct 11-14

89

8

3

2001 Oct 5-6

87

10

3

2001 Sep 21-22

90

6

4

2001 Sep 14-15

86

10

4

2001 Sep 7-10

51

39

10

2001 Aug 24-26

55

36

9

2001 Aug 16-19

57

34

9

2001 Aug 10-12

57

35

8

2001 Aug 3-5

55

35

10

2001 Jul 19-22

56

33

11

2001 Jul 10-11

57

35

8

2001 Jun 28-Jul 1

52

34

14

2001 Jun 11-17

55

33

12

2001 Jun 8-10

55

35

10

2001 May 18-20

56

36

8

2001 May 10-14

56

31

13

2001 May 7-9

53

33

14

2001 Apr 20-22

62

29

9

2001 Apr 6-8

59

30

11

2001 Mar 26-28

53

29

18

2001 Mar 9-11

58

29

13

2001 Mar 5-7

63

22

15

2001 Feb 19-21

62

21

17

2001 Feb 9-11

57

25

18

2001 Feb 1-4

57

25

18

How closely have you been following the news about the war between the U.S. and Iraq -- very closely, somewhat closely, not too closely, or not at all?

 

Very
closely

Somewhat closely

Not too closely


Not at all

No
opinion

2003 Mar 22-23

63%

32

4

1

--

2003 Jan 3-5 ^

43%

46

9

2

*

* Less than 0.5%

^

WORDING: How closely have you been following the news about the situation involving Iraq -- very closely, somewhat closely, not too closely, or not at all?

TRENDS FOR COMPARISON:

How closely have you followed news about the situation in the Persian Gulf Region? Would you say you have followed it very closely, fairly closely, not too closely, or not at all closely?

 

Very
closely

Fairly closely

Not too closely

Not at all closely

No
opinion

1991 Feb 7-10

55%

38

6

1

*

1991 Jan 23-26

59%

34

6

1

*

1991 Jan 17-20

70%

27

3

--

*

How closely have you followed the beginning of the ground war in the Persian Gulf -- very closely, somewhat closely, not too closely, or not at all?

 

Very
closely

Somewhat closely

Not too closely


Not at all

No
opinion

1991 Feb 24 ^

53%

31

13

3

1

^

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.

Do you favor or oppose the U.S. war with Iraq?

 

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

2003 Mar 22-23

72%

25

3

TRENDS FOR COMPARISON:

Do you approve or disapprove of the United States' decision to go to war with Iraq?

 

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

2003 Mar 20 ^

76%

20

4

^ 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.

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 Mar 14-15 ^

64

33

3

2003 Mar 3-5

59

37

4

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.

TREND FOR COMPARISON:

Do you approve or disapprove of the U.S. decision to go to war with Iraq in order to drive the Iraqis out of Kuwait?

 

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

%

%

%

1991 Feb 14-17

79

17

4

1991 Jan 30-Feb 2

80

18

2

1991 Jan 23-26

81

15

4

1991 Jan 19-22

79

18

3

1991 Jan 17-20

80

15

5

Do you [favor/oppose] the war strongly, or not strongly?

(COMBINED RESPONSES: Q8-9)

 

Favor strongly

Favor,
not strongly

Oppose,
not strongly

Oppose,
strongly

No
opinion

2003 Mar 22-23

59%

13

8

17

3

TREND FOR COMPARISON:

Do you approve or disapprove of the United States' decision to go to war with Iraq? Do you [approve/disapprove] strongly, or not strongly?

 

Approve, strongly

Approve,
not strongly

Disapprove,
not strongly

Disapprove,
strongly

No
opin-
ion

2003 Mar 20 ^

60%

16

5

15

4

^ 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.

How long do you think the war in Iraq will last? Do you think it will last a week, or less than a month, one to three months, or four to six months, or seven months to a year, or do you think the war in Iraq will last longer than that?

 

 


Week


Less than a month


One-three months


Four-six months

Seven months
to a year


Longer
than a
year

 

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

2003 Mar 22-23

3

25

35

17

9

7

4

2003 Mar 20 ^

7

27

34

13

6

8

5

Persian Gulf War

1991 Jan 17-18 †

3

19

30

18

8

8

14

^

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.

Los Angeles Times Poll.

Now that the U.S. has taken military action against Iraq, do you think that the number of Americans killed and injured will be -- less than 100, several hundred, up to a thousand, several thousand, or tens of thousands?

 

Less than 100

Several hundred

Up to a thousand

Several thousand

Tens of thousands

No opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

2003 Mar 22-23

41

34

12

5

1

7

2003 Mar 20 ^

41

24

16

10

1

8

Persian Gulf War

1991 Feb 24

11

31

20

20

3

16

1991 Feb 22

10

22

20

28

5

15

1991 Feb 7-10

6

21

17

39

8

9

1991 Jan 17-20

12

24

16

29

4

15

^

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.

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

 

U.S. and
its allies


Iraq

Neither
side

No
opinion

2003 Mar 22-23

84%

*

14

2

Persian Gulf War ^

1991 Feb 14-17

75%

1

21

3

1991 Jan 19-22

66%

*

26

3

1991 Jan 17-20

73%

1

20

6

* Less than 0.5%

How would you say the war with Iraq has gone for the U.S. so far – [ROTATED: very well, moderately well, moderately badly, (or) very badly]?

 

Very well

Moderately well

Moderately badly

Very badly

No
opinion

2003 Mar 22-23

53%

37

5

3

2

Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/8038/SeventyTwo-Percent-Americans-Support-War-Against-Iraq.aspx Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A +1 202.715.3030