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[casi] Pew Center Public Opinion Poll - Inspections - Allies - War (16 Jan 03)

The Pew Research Center for People and the Press released on 16 January a
poll regarding US public opinion and a potential Iraq, among other items.
The Pew Center is considered by many to be an extremely credible, mainstream

For the complete polling questions, summary and results, see:

Below are select questions and an Associated Press story on the poll.

Q: What if inspectors find Iraq is hiding ability to easily make weapons?
Oppose using military force: 47%
Support using military force: 46%

Q: What if inspectors find no weapons, but Iraq can’t prove otherwise?
Oppose using military force: 63%
Support using military force: 29%

Q: What if inspectors find no weapons, but inspectors can’t assure Iraq has
Oppose using military force: 62%
Support using military force: 28%

Favor military action in Iraq even if allies won’t join: 26%

Source: Will Lester, “Public Not Persuaded on War With Iraq”, Associated
Press, 16 January 2003,


WASHINGTON - President Bush has yet to convince Americans that war with Iraq
is justified, according to a poll that suggests the White House has much
work to do to win public support for military force.

"I think a little more diplomacy would be in order," said Creig Crippen, an
84-year-old retired Air Force veteran from Deland, Fla.

There is widespread support for removing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, but
that support is conditional on proof of a threat from Iraq and on the
support of allies, said the poll by the Pew Research Center for the People &
the Press. The poll was released Thursday as the United Nations said it had
discovered empty chemical warheads south of Baghdad.

Two-thirds or more in the Pew poll and other recent polls say they favor
military action against Iraq — but only under certain circumstances.

For example, the Pew poll suggested that support for war is strong, 76
percent, if United Nations inspectors find nuclear, biological or chemical
weapons. The support is evenly split if they find no weapons but determine
Iraq has the ability to make these weapons.

The public does not buy the administration's argument that Iraq must prove
it does not have these weapons. Almost two-thirds, 63 percent, believed that
Iraq's failure to show such proof would be insufficient reason for a war.

More than half, 53 percent, say the president has not yet explained clearly
what's at stake to justify the United States using military force to end
Saddam's rule, according to the poll. Some 42 percent say he has.

The number who say Bush has clearly explained what's at stake has eroded
since his September address to the United Nations, when it was 52-37 saying
he had given a clear explanation.

At the White House, spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush continues to work
with other countries on a peaceful solution.

"But if Saddam Hussein will not disarm peacefully and it becomes necessary
to disarm him by force, then what we would be doing is not only disarming a
real and growing threat, but liberating Iraqi people from a brutal,
oppressive regime," McClellan said.

The Pew poll of 1,218 adults was taken Jan. 8-12 and has an error margin of
plus or minus 3 percentage points.

"I believe that this is an action that is due because of Saddam Hussein's
complete lack of respect for the democratic world and his people," said
Philip Pederson a 65-year-old sales manager from Wheatland, Calif. He is a
Vietnam veteran.

Though the president has been making his case against Iraq in earnest since
last September, White House officials say the heavier lifting doesn't begin
until Jan. 28, when Bush delivers his State of the Union address. That's one
day after U.N. weapons inspectors issue their preliminary report.

The drumbeat for war continues Jan. 31, when Bush meets at Camp David with
his staunchest anti-Iraq ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web
sites). If Bush chooses to go to war, whenever that might be, there would be
a final, Oval Office address in which he would spell out reasons, White
House officials say.

Democratic lawmakers like Michigan Sen. Carl Levin (news, bio, voting
record) caution that the United States "must not prejudge the outcome" of
the inspections.

Some in the public will be skeptical no matter what the president tells them
about Iraq.

"I think they've made it very clear," said 23-year-old Rachel Wheatley of
Washington, "that they're not really interested in what the inspectors have
to say."

Associated Press writer Danny Freedman contributed to this story.


Nathaniel Hurd
Consultant on United Nations Iraq policy
Residential Address:
90 7th Ave.
Apt. #6
Brooklyn, NY  11217
Tel. (Mobile): 917-407-3389
Fax: 718-504-4224

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