Majority Opposes War

The Australian — Iraq war not worth fighting: US poll

FIFTY-two per cent of Americans believe the Iraq war was not worth fighting, according to an opinion poll released today.

The joint survey by America’s ABC News and the Washington Post found seven in 10 Americans thought US casualties were “unacceptable”.

And the number of those confident the war had enhanced long-term US security was down 11 points since the beginning of the year, to 51 per cent.

The poll results follow a report by a bipartisan commission investigating the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States that found no co-operative ties between the former Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.

That was contrary to the Bush administration’s claims on going to war.

Well, actually, this contradicts a media straw man about what both the President and the 9/11 Commission said. Both the commissioners and the report say there were clear Saddam-AQ links, just no direct evidence of a Saddam 9/11 connection.

President George W. Bush also insisted Baghdad had a massive arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, but no such weapons have ever been found.

Well, again, not exactly. Certainly, Saddam had a massive arsenal at some point given that he was gassing people left and right. He had a nuclear program well underway before the Israelis took it out in 1982 and another one that we stumbled upon in the aftermath of Gulf War I. And the arguments about what Bush actually said in the speeches leading up to the war have been rehashed time and again.

That aside, I’m not incredibly surprised by the poll results. The public clearly expected to find more in the way of WMD stockpiles and believed, contrary to evidence or assertion, that Saddam was directly tied to 9/11. So far, no joy on those counts. And there’s a bloody insurgency underway and the throngs of grateful Iraqis people were expecting are all either afraid to show their face, disgruntled by the insurgency, or resentful of the occupation.

This, however, is puzzling:

Evaluating Mr Bush’s overall job performance, 47 per cent of Americans polled approved and 51 per cent disapproved.

If the election was held today, Mr Kerry would have a four-point lead over Mr Bush in the three-way race including independent candidate Ralph Nader, according to the survey.

So, despite a majority of Americans now opposing the war–which should certainly be the major issue in this election– President Bush is still in a statistical dead heat with his leading challenger.

(Hat tip Alan at CP)

UPDATE: This is apparently a WaPo/ABC poll. Oddly, WaPo presents the data slightly more favorable for President Bush with slightly different, although statistically comparable, numbers.

Bush Loses Support Over War on Terrorism

Public anxiety over mounting casualties in Iraq and the doubts about long-term consequences of the war continue to rise and have helped to erase President Bush’s once-formidable advantage over Sen. John F. Kerry on who is best able to deal with terrorist threats, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Exactly half the country now approves of the way Bush is managing the U.S. war on terrorism, down 13 points since April, according to the poll. Barely two months ago, Bush comfortably led Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, by 21 percentage points when voters were asked which man they trusted to deal with the terrorist threat. Today the country is evenly divided, with 48 percent preferring Kerry and 47 percent favoring Bush.

With less than 10 days to go before the United States turns over governing power to a new government in Iraq, the survey shows that Americans are coming to a mixed judgment about the costs and benefits of the war. Campaign advisers to both Bush and Kerry believe voters’ conclusions about Bush and Iraq will play a decisive role in determining the outcome of the November election.

The shift is potentially significant because Bush has consistently received higher marks on fighting terrorism than on Iraq. If the decline signals a permanent loss of confidence in his handling of the campaign against terrorism, that could undermine a central part of Bush’s reelection campaign message.

The actual poll questions and results–along with archived polls for historical comparison–are available here.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. chase says:

    Check the sample … 1201 Adults …. plus 38 % (D), 30 % (R) and 28 % (I) …. seems like it is similar to the LA Times poll that had Kerry up a ton ….

  2. Anthony says:

    Both the commissioners and the report say there were clear Saddam-AQ links

    Yes. And we had links to the Taliban. So what of those links?

  3. McGehee says:

    Yes, Anthony, what of those links? After all, didn’t we Americans cheer over Taliban misdeeds like Saddam did over 9/11?

    Oh — we didn’t? We condemned them?

    Well — uh — Bush is Hitler!


  4. Vicki says:

    After seeing what these terrorists are capable of, how can anyone say we shouldn’t be doing this? This is a holy war like no other.

  5. Doug H. says:

    “President George W. Bush also insisted Baghdad had a massive arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, but no such weapons have ever been found.”

    Except for that shell stuffed with the Sarin gas brew. Here Michael Moore sneers, “Oh, just one, big deal.”

    1. Sarin shells are like cockroaches; there’s never “just one”

    2. the U.N. resolutions that justified this war didn’t set an upper limit on the number of banned weapons Saddam was allowed to have, so one shell puts him over the line

    3. if you’re a media outlet, such as “The Australian,” you should know enough about words to know that any positive number — even “one” — is more than “zero,” And therefore you can no longer say “no such weapons have ever been found” when some have, in fact, been found.

    Unless, of course, you’re more committed to your preferred version of reality than you are to the truth, in which case you belong in “1984,” not in the newsgathering profession.