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[casi] US POLL: British participation critical to US public support in the absence of UN Resolution

1) Headline news: Britain critical to US public support
if no new UN resolution
2) Detailed results of poll re: war against Iraq
3) Other results: opposition to pre-emptive war and
indecision over US nuclear retaliation

US public opposed to unilateral war on Iraq:
An opportunity for Britain

According to a poll on US attitudes to war on Iraq,
commissioned by the Knight Ridder group of US
newspapers and carried out by Princeton Survey
Research Associates and published in part in the
Miami Herald on 12 Jan., a unilateral war on Iraq by
the United States - without a UN resolution and
without a major ally - is opposed by an overwhelming
majority of people in the US.

1) Headline news: Britain critical to US public support
if no new UN resolution

While support for the war was almost equal to
opposition (47% against 45%) if the US was joined by
one or two major allies, in the absence of a UN
Resolution, this turned into overwhelming opposition
if the US fought entirely alone and without a UN
Resolution (34% support against 59% opposition).

This shows the extraordinary importance of the
political decisions taken in London in terms of the
political viability of the war in the US.

(The full poll results are available online via Martin
Merzer, 'Poll: Majority oppose unilateral action against
Iraq', Miami Herald, <>).

2) Detailed results of poll re: war against Iraq

Respondents agreed that Iraq posed a 'serious threat'
to the US (75% Yes, 19% No, 7% Don't know) - there
was a slight gender gap with women more worried
than men, but thought that al Qa'eda was a more
significant threat to US security than Iraq (49%
thought al Qa'eda the biggest threat, only 21% opted
for Iraq). The threat from Iraq was therefore seen as
less important as a priority for US foreign policy than
al Qa'eda (27% thought Iraq the most important
priority, whereas 49% prioritised al Qa'eda).

Only 27% of respondents were in favour of moving
forward quickly 'with military action as the only way to
effectively deal with the threat posed by Iraq'. 68% of
respondents supported taking more time to 'try to
achieve our goals in Iraq WITHOUT going to war'.
Again there was a clear gender gap, with only 22% of
women in favour of quick military action as opposed
to 31% of men, and only 18% of African Americans
supported quick military action - 81% supported a
more patient approach. A majority of Republicans
(59%) also favoured the slower route.

Respondents were given a choice of scenarios and
asked whether they would support or oppose war on
Iraq in these cases:

'The United States joined together with its major allies
to attack Iraq with the full support of the United
Nations Security Council': 83% support for war, 13%
opposition, 5% don't know. There was no real gender
gap, but African Americans were less enthusiastic
about war even in these circumstances: only 70%
support for war, against 86% support among non-
Hispanic whites. There was an interesting age gap,
with 19% of 18-29 year olds opposed to war even in
these circumstances, compared to only 9% of 30-49
year olds.

'The United States and one or two of its major allies
attacked Iraq without the support of the United
Nations': 47% support, 45% opposition, 9% don't
know. A significant gender gap appears, with 55% of
men supportive, but only 38% of women supportive
of war in these conditions. While 42% of non-Hispanic
whites were supportive of war, only 27% of African-
Americans joined them; 65% of Black Americans were
against war in these conditions. A majority (54%) of
18-29 year-olds opposed war and only 41% supported
war in these conditions while figures were almost
exactly reversed for the 30-49 year-olds.

'The United States acted alone in attacking Iraq
without the support of the United Nations': 34% were
supportive, 59% were opposed, 6% were don't
knows. 43% of men supported war, but only 26% of
women did so. 35% of non-Hispanic whites supported
war, but only 19% of African-Americans did so.

3) Other results: opposition to pre-emptive war and
indecision over US nuclear retaliation

Pre-emptive attacks on countries and groups that
threaten the US did not receive wholehearted
support: 45% thought this a 'good policy', while 43%
thought it a 'bad policy' (women were much more
opposed than men - 41% support against 46%
opposition - and African Americans were very much
more opposed than whites - Black people were 30%
supportive and 64% opposed).

If Iraq responded to a US attack with chemical or
biological weapons, 46% of US citizens would support
the use of nuclear weapons against Iraq, but 45%
would oppose such action.

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