AP Poll: Military Kin Likelier to Back War
An Associated Press poll found that, while a majority of Americans now oppose the war, those who are close to someone who has served in it were more likely to support it. Also, over 90 percent support the right of people to protest the war, although Republicans like it less than Democrats.
People with friends or relatives serving in Iraq are more likely than others to have a positive view of a generally unpopular war, an AP-Ipsos poll found. Some of those surveyed said their relationships with troops helped them learn more about what’s going on in Iraq beyond the violence. Others said their opinions of the war were shaped by a sense of loyalty to those in harm’s way.
A solid majority of those who did not know anyone in Iraq said they thought the war was a mistake, 61 percent, compared to 36 percent who thought it was the right decision. Those who had a relative or friend there were almost evenly split, 49 percent right decision, 47 percent mistake.
Those who know someone serving in Iraq were more likely to approve of the Bush administration’s conduct of the war Ã¢€” 44 percent, compared to 37 percent overall. “From most of the information I get, the people over there fighting basically are proud to be there and feel they’re doing something good,” said Sally Dowling, a bank employee from Mesa, Ariz., who said her boss’s son is serving in Iraq. “That brings it home more than if I didn’t know anybody.”
Overall attitudes about the war Ã¢€” while negative Ã¢€” haven’t changed dramatically through the summer. A solid majority, 60 percent, want U.S. troops to stick it out until Iraq is stable. The poll found that 58 percent of people disapprove of the Bush administration’s conduct of the war and consider it a mistake. Half believe the war increases the threat of terrorism. Democrats overwhelmingly question the president’s policies, while Republicans overwhelmingly support them.
Among the strongest supporters of President Bush’s handling of the war were Republicans and evangelicals, men and especially suburban men. Those most likely to feel the Iraq war was the right decision were whites, especially younger whites, those with some college or a college degree, Southerners, suburbanites, Protestants and Republicans.
An overwhelming number of people say critics of the Iraq war should be free to voice their objections. Nearly three weeks after a grieving California mother named Cindy Sheehan started her anti-war protest near Bush’s Texas ranch, nine of 10 people surveyed in the AP-Ipsos poll say it’s OK for war opponents to share publicly their concerns about the conflict. The poll found that Republicans are the most likely to disapprove of people voicing opposition to the war.
These results aren’t particularly surprising. One would presume that those whose friends and family members are taking huge risks for the war would be more inclined to believe–or want to believe–it was for a good cause. Further, they are more likely to get the “good news” from Iraq than those who merely pay attention to the drip-drip-drip of daily bombing reports through the media.