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Washington Post-ABC News Poll: Start of Iraqi War

Friday, March 21, 2003

The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll is based on telephone interviews with 506 randomly selected adults nationwide and was conducted Thursday evening, March 20. The margin of sampling error for overall results is plus or minus 5 percentage points. Sampling error is only one of many potential sources of error in this or any other public opinion poll. Results of overnight polls that attempt to measure opinions about fast-changing news events should be interpreted with extra caution. Interviewing was conducted by TNS Intersearch of Horsham, Pa.

*= less than 0.5 percent

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president? Do you approve/disapprove strongly or somewhat?

             ---------Approve---------   --------Disapprove-------    No       
             NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Strongly   Somewhat   opin.     
3/20/03      67       NA         NA      28       NA         NA        5
3/2/03       62       38         23      35       22         13        4
2/23/03      60       NA         NA      34       NA         NA        6
2/9/03       64       42         21      34       20         14        3
2/1/03       62       41         21      34       22         13        4
1/28/03      62       43         19      36       23         13        2
1/27/03      59       39         21      37       22         15        4
1/20/03      59       36         23      38       22         16        2
12/15/02     66       37         28      32       20         12        2
11/4/02  LV  67       45         23      31       20         12        1
11/3/02  LV  67       45         22      32       20         12        1
11/2/02  LV  67       47         20      32       23          9        1
10/27/02 All 67       39         28      29       16         13        4
10/27/02 LV  68       47         21      30       16         14        3
9/26/02      67       42         25      30       18         12        3
9/8/02       71       42         28      27       15         12        3
7/28/02      69       39         31      28       14         14        3
7/15/02      72       42         31      25       13         12        2
6/17/02      74       42         32      22       13          9        4
6/9/02       77       41         36      20       11          9        3
5/19/02      76       48         28      22       13          8        3
4/21/02      78       47         31      20       10          9        2
3/28/02      79       49         30      18       10          8        3
3/10/02      82       52         30      16        7          9        2
1/27/02      83       56         27      14        7          7        3
12/19/01     86       64         22      12        6          6        2
11/27/01     89       69         21       9        5          4        1
11/6/01      89       65         24       9        4          5        2
10/9/01      92       76         16       6        3          3        1
9/27/01      90       70         20       6        3          3        4
9/13/01      86       63         23      12        6          5        2
9/9/01       55       26         29      41       22         20        3
8/12/01      61       28         33      31       17         14        8
7/30/01      59       28         30      38       22         17        3
6/3/01       55       27         28      40       22         18        6
4/22/01      63       33         30      32       16         16        5
3/25/01      58       NA         NA      33       NA         NA        8
2/25/01      55       NA         NA      23       NA         NA       22

2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bush is handling the situation with Iraq and Saddam Hussein?

                          Approve     Disapprove     No opinion                
3/20/03                     65            29              5
3/17/03                     64            29              7
3/9/03                      55            38              8
2/23/03                     55            39              6                    
2/9/03                      61            37              2                    
2/5/03 All                  61            32              7                    
       Watched Powell*      65            31              5                    
       Didn't watch         55            35             10                    
2/1/03                      61            35              3                    
1/28/03                     58            38              4                    
1/27/03                     57            40              3                    
1/20/03                     50            46              4                    
12/15/02                    58            37              5                    
11/4/02  LV                 56            40              4                    
11/3/02  LV                 57            40              4                    
11/2/02  LV                 56            41              3                    
10/27/02 All                57            38              5                    
10/27/02 LV                 61            37              3                    
9/26/02                     58            39              3                    
9/14/02                     65            31              4                    
8/29/02                     52            36             12

3. As you may know, the United States went to war with Iraq last night. Do you support or oppose the United States having gone to war with Iraq? Do you support/oppose it strongly or only somewhat?

             ---------Support---------    ----------Oppose---------       
             NET   Strongly   Somewhat    NET   Strongly   Somewhat    No opin.   
3/20/03      72       53         19       26       18          8          2    
3/17/03*     71       54         16       27       19          8          3    
3/9/03       59       40         19       35       21         14          6   

*3/17/03 and previous: Would you support or oppose the United States going to war with Iraq?

Compare to: The Bush administration says it will move soon to disarm Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power, by war if necessary, working with countries that are willing to assist, even without the support of the United Nations. Overall, do you support or oppose this policy? (IF SUPPORT) Do you support it with reservations or without reservations?

         --------------Support---------------                                  
         NET   W/o reserv.  With reserv.   DK   Oppose   No opinion            
3/2/03   59        34           24         1      37          4 

Compare to: Would you favor or oppose having U.S. forces take military action against Iraq to force Saddam Hussein from power? Would you say you favor/oppose military action against Iraq strongly or only somewhat?

                 --------Favor--------   --------Oppose-------   No
                 NET Strongly Somewhat   NET Strongly Somewhat   op.
3/9/03           65     47       18      30     20       10       5
2/23/03          63     42       21      31     18       13       6
2/9/03           66     46       21      31     17       14       2
2/5/03           67     45       22      27     17       11       6
2/1/03           66     48       19      31     18       14       3
1/28/03          63     43       19      32     20       13       5
1/27/03          61     40       21      36     21       15       3
1/20/03          57     40       17      41     25       16       3
12/15/02         62     41       20      35     20       15       3
11/17/02         64     NA       NA      29     NA       NA       7
9/26/02          61     NA       NA      34     NA       NA       5
9/14/02          68     NA       NA      29     NA       NA       3
8/29/02          56     NA       NA      34     NA       NA      10
8/11/02          69     NA       NA      22     NA       NA       9
3/10/02          72     NA       NA      24     NA       NA       4
2/21/02          67     46       21      30     12       18       4
1/27/02          71     NA       NA      24     NA       NA       4
12/19/01         72     NA       NA      24     NA       NA       5
11/27/01         78     NA       NA      17     NA       NA       6
10/11/94*        72     NA       NA      23     NA       NA       5
1/15/93**        82     NA       NA      15     NA       NA       3
8/21/92 RV       65     NA       NA      30     NA       NA       5
2/9/92           62     NA       NA      35     NA       NA       3
4/22/91          51     NA       NA      43     NA       NA       6
4/5/91           54     NA       NA      37     NA       NA       9
3/15/91          57     NA       NA      38     NA       NA       5

*10/11/94 and previous: Gallup
**1/15/93 and previous: Would you support or oppose having U.S. forces resume military action...?

4. (IF SUPPORT) Would you say (you support the troops AND you support the Bush administration's policy on Iraq); or, would you say (you support the troops, but you OPPOSE the Bush administration's policy on Iraq)?

            Support troops        Support troops,      Other         No
            and Bush policy     oppose Bush policy     (vol.)     opinion
3/20/03            78                   20               1           1

5. Do you think the United States did enough to seek a diplomatic solution before going to war with Iraq, or not?

            Yes     No     No opinion      
3/20/03     67      31          2

Compare to:

Do you think the United States has done enough to seek a diplomatic solution to the Persian Gulf situation, or not?

            Yes     No     No opinion      
1/16/91     77      20          3
1/13/91     66      30          4
1/9/91      71      27          2

6. Do you think (the United States has to kill or capture Saddam Hussein for the war in Iraq to be a success), or do you think (the war in Iraq can be a success if Saddam Hussein is removed from power, but not killed or captured)?

             US must capture/     War can succeed        No 
               kill Hussein       without Hussein     opinion 
3/20/03             49                   43              7

Compare to:

Do you think (the United States has to capture or kill Osama bin Laden for the war on terrorism to be a success), or do you think (the war on terrorism can be a success without Osama bin Laden being killed or captured)?

             US must capture/      War can succeed       No 
              kill bin Laden      without bin Laden     opin. 
9/8/02              44                    54              2 
4/21/02             50                    45              5 
3/10/02             44                    53              4 
1/27/02             46                    51              3 
12/19/01            64                    34              2 
11/6/01             64                    30              6

7. Do you think the United States should (strike Iraqi military targets even if they're located in areas where civilians might be killed), or should the United States (avoid striking Iraqi military targets located in civilian areas)?

            Strike     Avoid     No opinion
3/20/03       49         42           9

Compare to:

Do you think United States bombers should pass up some possible military targets if Iraqi civilians might be killed in the attack, or not?

            Yes     No     No opinion
1/20/91     37      56          6

8. Would you support or oppose having the United States attack Iraq with nuclear weapons if Iraq attacked U.S. forces with biological or chemical weapons?

             Support   Oppose     No opin.                                       
3/20/03        45        48           7
12/15/02       60        37           3

9. Do you think it was right for the United States to attack Iraq now, should the United States have waited longer before attacking Iraq, or should the United States never have attacked Iraq?

            Right to     Should have     Should never        No
             attack        waited            have         opinion
3/20/03        62            23               11             4
1/16/91        75            13               10             2

10. Considering everything, how confident are you that the United States and its allies did the right thing in attacking Iraq? Would you say you are very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not at all confident?

            -----Confident-----   ----Not confident----      No
            NET   Very   Smwht.   NET   Not too  At all     opin.  
3/20/03     76     51      25     23      11       12         1
1/16/91     84     59      25     14       8        6         2

11. Do you think America's vital interests are at stake in the situation involving Iraq, or not?

           Yes    No    No opinion
3/20/03     67    26         7

Compare to:

Do you think America's vital interests are at stake in the situation involving Kosovo, or not?

           Yes    No    No opinion
4/8/99      47    49         4
4/6/99      46    49         5
4/5/99      46    50         4
3/30/99     47    42        11
3/28/99     42    44        14
3/26/99     39    51        10
3/23/99     41    54         5
3/14/99     27    57        15

12. Do you think Bush has or has not done a good job of explaining his reasons for going to war?

            Yes, has     No, has not     No opinion
3/20/03        67             32               1

13. Just your best guess, how long do you think the war with Iraq will last - days, weeks, months, about a year, or longer than that?

            Days     Weeks     Months     Year     Longer     No opin.      
3/20/03       8        31        37         8        10           5

Compare to:

Just your best guess, how long do you think a war with Iraq would last - a few weeks, several months, about a year or longer than that?

           Weeks     Months     Year     Longer     No opin.      
3/9/03      22         33        16        23           7
2/1/03      19         32        18        27           5 

14. Do you think there will or will not be a significant number of U.S. military casualties in the war with Iraq?

           Yes,        No,          No           
           will     will not     opinion         
3/20/03     37         55            8

Compare to:

Do you think there would or would not be a significant number of U.S. military casualties in a war with Iraq?

            Yes,        No,           No           
           would     would not     opinion         
3/9/03       62         31            7
2/1/03       65         31            4

15. Do you think the United States will be able to justify this war ONLY if it finds weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical or biological weapons, in Iraq; or do you think the United States will be able to justify this war for other reasons, even if it does NOT find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

            Justify only     Justify even      Neither/No         No
            if find WMD        if no WMD      justification     opinion
3/20/03          35               53                7              6

16. How concerned are you about the possibility there will be more major terrorist attacks in the United States - is that something that worries you a great deal, somewhat, not too much or not at all?

            ---------Concerned---------    -------Not concerned----    No      
            NET    Grt.deal    Somewhat    NET    Not much   At all    op.     
3/20/03     76        29          47       24        16         8       1
2/16/03     72        27          45       27        18         9       1
9/8/02      74        22          52       26        19         7       0      
7/15/02     73        29          44       27        20         7       *      
4/21/02     73        30          43       26        18         9       *      
3/10/02     70        23          47       30        21         9       1      
12/19/01    70        27          43       29        22         8       1      
10/15/01    77        35          43       23        14         9       0      
10/9/01     82        36          46       18        12         6       *      
10/7/01     81        41          40       18        13         4       1      
9/27/01*    83        43          39       17        12         5       *      
9/11/01     87        49          38       12         7         4       1      
6/13/97     62        21          41       38        24        14       *      
6/2/97      63        22          41       37        28         9       *      
8/5/96      74        31          43       26        18         8       *      
4/20/95     78        38          40       21        16         5       1 

*9/27/01 and previous: "How concerned are you about the possibility there will be more major terrorist attacks in this country."


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