Public Supportive of U.N. Role in Iraq

by David W. Moore

Also willing to wait year or more for United States to establish democratic government in Iraq

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Despite differences between the United Nations and the United States over launching the war with Iraq, the American public seems willing for the international body to play a major role in the reconstruction of Iraq. Americans also appear willing to wait a year or more for the United States to establish a democratic government there, according to a recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll. But the poll, which was conducted April 22-23, also shows a public divided over whether it's more important to establish a democratic government, or a government friendly to the United States. Americans express widespread approval for the U.S. actions in Iraq since the war, although as of the poll, a majority said the war was not over and speculated that Saddam Hussein was still alive.

The poll finds that by a 52% to 41% margin, Americans believe the United Nations, rather than the United States, should oversee the transition to a new government in Iraq. By an even larger margin, 65% to 26%, they believe the United Nations should be in charge of providing humanitarian assistance to Iraqi citizens. But when it comes to who will search Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, Americans lean toward the United States rather than the United Nations by a 51% to 42% margin.

Who Should Be in Charge of:
April 22-23, 2003

At the same time that Americans show a slight preference for a U.S.-led search of Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, there is less optimism that such weapons actually will be found. The poll shows that 39% say it is "very likely" the United States will find conclusive evidence of such weapons, down significantly from 59% who expressed that view last month.

How likely is it that the U.S. will find conclusive evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or the facilities to develop them –

About a quarter of Americans, 24%, think it is not likely such evidence will be found, up from 12% who felt that a month ago.

Type of Government for Iraq

It's not surprising that the United States is trying to establish a democratic form of government in Iraq, but analysts have pointed out that, given widespread antipathy toward the United States in the Muslim world, a democratic government could become one that is unfriendly to the United States. The poll shows that Americans are divided as to which characteristic is more important. Forty-six percent would prefer a freely elected government, even if not friendly, while 44% opt for a friendly government, even if not freely elected.

Prefer Which Type of Government in Iraq?
April 22-23, 2003

Liberals opt for a freely elected government over a friendly one, by 54% to 38%, while conservatives show a slight tendency to prefer the friendly government, by 49% to 43%. There are no significant differences in views on this matter between Republicans and Democrats.

Most Americans seem willing to wait at least a year, and possibly longer, for the United States to make as good an effort as it can to establish a friendly and democratic government in Iraq. By 75% to 22%, Americans reject the idea of setting up a government in Iraq and getting out as quickly as possible, and instead prefer to take the time to make sure a democratic government is established -- even if that results in U.S. troops staying in Iraq for a year or more.

Which would you prefer the United States to do – set up a government in Iraq as quickly as possible and get out of Iraq even if that results in a new government that is not as friendly to the U.S., or take the time to make sure a democratic government is established in Iraq even if that results in U.S. troops staying in Iraq for a year or more?
April 22-23, 2003

War Not Over?

The poll shows that as of April 23, only 36% of Americans thought the war with Iraq was over, while 63% said it was not. It could be that U.S. efforts to maintain security there are seen as a continuation of the war.

One question that remains unanswered is whether Saddam Hussein is alive or dead. Last week, President Bush told Tom Brokaw that he thought Hussein may well be dead, but on Monday, USA Today reported that Iraq's former deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz (who recently turned himself in to coalition forces), believes that Saddam survived the missile attacks and is still alive.

Aziz' reported assertion certainly resonates with the American public's sentiments. Seventy-three percent of Americans speculate that Saddam Hussein was alive at the time of the poll, while 23% thought he was probably dead.

Just your best guess, do you think Saddam Hussein is alive or dead?

U.S. Actions in Iraq Since the End of Fighting

Despite perceptions that the war is not over, 85% of Americans say thing are going very (21%) or moderately (64%) well for the United States now that the major fighting has ended. Just one in seven (14%) say things are going badly.

How would you say things are going for the U.S. in Iraq now that the major fighting has ended –?
April 22-23, 2003

Also, 80% approve of the way the United States has handled the situation with Iraq since the major fighting ended, while just 18% disapprove.

Do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. has handled the situation with Iraq since the major fighting ended?
April 22-23, 2003

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,001 national adults, aged 18+, conducted April 22-23, 2003. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum 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.

Based on what you have heard or read about the events in Iraq over the past week, do you think that for all intents and purposes, the war with Iraq is over, or not?

BASED ON –490—NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM A

 

 

Yes, over

No, not

No opinion

2003 Apr 22-23 ^

36%

63

1

2003 Apr 14-16

31%

67

2

2003 Apr 9 †

15%

84

1

^

Asked of a half sample.

WORDING: Based on what you have heard or read about the events in Baghdad today, do you think that for all intents and purposes, the war with Iraq is over, or not? (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.)



Just your best guess, do you think Saddam Hussein is [ROTATED: alive (or) dead]?

BASED ON –511—NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM B

 

Alive

Dead

No opinion

2003 Apr 22-23 ^

73%

23

4

2003 Apr 9 †

66%

26

8

2003 Apr 5-6

73%

21

6

2003 Mar 20 †

90%

6

4

^

Asked of a half sample.

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 would you say things are going for the U.S. in Iraq now that the major fighting has ended – [ROTATED: very well, moderately well, moderately badly, (or) very badly]?

BASED ON –490—NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM A

 

Very

well

Moderately well

Moderately badly

Very

badly

No
opinion

2003 Apr 22-23

21%

64

12

2

1



 

 

Do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. has handled the situation with Iraq since the major fighting ended?

BASED ON –511—NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM B

 

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

2003 Apr 22-23

80%

18

2



How likely is it that the U.S. will find conclusive evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or the facilities to develop them – very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, or not at all likely?

 

Very
likely

Somewhat likely

Not too
likely

Not at all likely

No
opinion

2003 Apr 22-23

39%

36

19

5

1

2003 Mar 22-23

59%

28

10

2

1



 

Who do you think should be in charge of – [RANDOM ORDER] – [ROTATED: the United States (or) the United Nations]?

A. Overseeing the transition to a new government in Iraq

 

 

United
States

 

United Nations

BOTH
EQUALLY (vol.)

NEITHER/ OTHER
(vol.)

 

No
opinion

2003 Apr 22-23

41%

52

4

2

1



B. Providing humanitarian assistance to Iraqi civilians

 

 

 

United
States

 

United Nations

BOTH
EQUALLY (vol.)

NEITHER/ OTHER
(vol.)

 

No
opinion

2003 Apr 22-23

26%

65

9

*

*



C. Searching Iraq for evidence of weapons of mass destruction

 

 

 

United
States

 

United Nations

BOTH
EQUALLY (vol.)

NEITHER/ OTHER
(vol.)

 

No
opinion

2003 Apr 22-23

51%

42

6

1

*



If you had to choose, what kind of government would you prefer to see in Iraq – [ROTATED: a freely elected democratic government that is not friendly to the United States, (or) a government that is friendly to the United States but is not freely elected]?

 

Freely elected,
not friendly

Friendly,
not freely elected

No
opinion

2003 Apr 22-23

46%

44

10



Which would you prefer the United States to do – [ROTATED: set up a government in Iraq as quickly as possible and get out of Iraq even if that results in a new government that is not as friendly to the U.S., (or) take the time to make sure a democratic government is established in Iraq even if that results in U.S. troops staying in Iraq for a year or more]?

 

As quickly as possible

Take the time

No opinion

2003 Apr 22-23

22%

75

3



* -- Less than 0.5%

(vol.) – Volunteered response

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