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[casi] FW: Poll: Was It Worth It?

Key statistic: 48% of respondents think the Iraq war will increase the
long-term risk of terrorism to the U.S. That's pretty much the final
dagger in the heart of the pro-war argument, huh?

Was It Worth It?
Poll: More Americans Think Iraq War Raises Risk of Anti-U.S. Terror

By Gary Langer

Sept. 8

Americans express a growing suspicion that the war in Iraq will boost
rather than ease the long-term risk of terrorism against the United
States, a concern that directly challenges President Bush's rationale
for invading.This finding of a new ABCNEWS poll follows continued
attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and on civilians elsewhere in the world,
and marks a sharp turn in public attitudes.

A week after the fall of Baghdad, 58 percent of Americans thought the
war would reduce the long-term risk of terrorism. Today that's down 18
points, while 48 percent - up 19 points - think the war has raised the

At the same time, the number of Americans who say the war was worth
fighting has slipped to 54 percent - a new low, down from 61 percent in
mid-August and a high of 70 percent as the main fighting wound down.

Such concerns, measured in interviews in this ABCNEWS poll from Thursday
through Sunday evening, frame the conditions in which Bush addressed the
nation about Iraq on Sunday night. The poll also found a drop in
approval of his handling of the situation to a new low, 49 percent -
down from 56 percent last month and 75 percent on April 30, a day before
he declared the major fighting over.

Bush's rating is very closely tied to perceptions of threat. Americans
who think the war in Iraq has reduced the long-term risk of terrorism
approve of his work there by 74 percent to 23 percent. Those who think
it has increased the risk, however, disapprove of his Iraq policy by
nearly as broad a margin.

Troops and Casualties

Concerns about the long-term risk of terrorism may be amplified by
disquiet over continued U.S. military casualties in Iraq. A new high, 57
percent, term the level of U.S. casualties "unacceptable," compared with
38 percent - fewer than four in 10 for the first time - who say it's

Acceptability is clearly part of a cost-benefit analysis. Casualties are
vastly more acceptable among Americans who believe the war has decreased
the long-term risk of terrorism and who think it was worth fighting.

There's very broad support for sharing the load - 85 percent favor
supplementing U.S. troops in Iraq with troops from other countries to
create an international force there. Burden sharing is so popular that a
majority - albeit a much smaller one, 55 percent - say they'd favor such
a force even if it meant placing U.S. forces under the command of the
United Nations. (The administration, rather, has proposed a
U.S.-commanded force.)


Overall, about two-thirds of Americans, 67 percent, continue to support
the U.S. military presence in Iraq. While a substantial majority, that's
slipped by seven points since July. Of those supporters, nearly seven in
10 say they support both Bush and the troops, while nearly three in 10
say they support the troops, but not Bush's policy.

Will the War Increase or Decrease the Risk of Terrorism?
ABCNEWS and ABCNEWS/Washington Post polls
  4/16/2003: Now:
Increase 29% 48
Decrease 58 40

A majority continues to accept the argument, propounded by Bush, that
the war in Iraq is part of the broader war on terrorism - 65 percent in
this poll agree, but that's down from 77 percent during the war itself.

Unfinished Business

Most Americans see the job as unfinished: Sixty-two percent say the war
in Iraq won't be a success unless Saddam is killed or captured. Even
among Bush's most loyal supporters, 64 percent of Republicans and 59
percent of conservatives say the United States must get Saddam in order
to claim victory in Iraq.

And there's the continuing task of rebuilding. Fifty-three percent say
the United States is doing good or even excellent work restoring civil
order in Iraq. But just 7 percent say it's doing an excellent job; more
than twice as many pick the most negative rating, poor.

Views on Bush's Iraq policy remain very highly influenced by
partisanship. While Republicans approve of his performance on Iraq by an
80 percent to 17 percent margin, Democrats disapprove by 70 percent to
25 percent and independents by a narrower 52 percent to 44 percent. And
while 56 percent of Republicans call the level of casualties
"acceptable," that declines to 38 percent of independents, and drops
further to 26 percent of Democrats.

Was the War Worth Fighting?
  9/7 8/11 4/30
Yes 54% 61 70
No 42 35 27

Similarly, 89 percent of Republicans support the current U.S. military
presence in Iraq, compared with 63 percent of independents and 53
percent of Democrats. And 77 percent of Republicans say the war was
worth fighting; this declines to 52 percent of independents and 35
percent of Democrats.

Other Groups

Bush's tougher audiences include minorities and women; many in both
groups tend to be more skeptical of military action as well as more apt
to be Democrats. While 56 percent of men approve of Bush's work on Iraq,
that declines to 43 percent of women; and it's 54 percent among whites,
but 31 percent among nonwhites.

U.S. Performance Restoring Civil Order in Iraq
  Net Excellent  Good
Positive 53% 7  45
  Net Not Good Poor
Negative 44 28 17

Moreover, women are 11 points more apt than men, and nonwhites 21 points
more apt than whites, to call the level of U.S. casualties in Iraq


This ABCNEWS poll was conducted by telephone Sept. 4-7 among a random
national sample of 1,004 adults. The results have a three-point error
margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation were done by TNS
Intersearch of Horsham, Pa.

Previous ABCNEWS polls can be found in our Poll Vault.

See the full questions and results.
stop the war profiteers!

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