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Washington Post-ABC News Poll: America at War

Friday, December 21, 2001

The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll is based on telephone interviews with 755 randomly selected adults nationwide and was conducted Dec. 18 - 19, 2001. The margin of sampling error for overall results is plus or minus 4 percentage points. Sampling error is only one of many potential sources of error in this or any other public opinion poll. 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.
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 nation's economy?

             Approve   Disapprove   No opinion
12/19/01       67          27             6
11/6/01        72          23             5
9/9/01         48          48             4
7/30/01        52          45             3
6/3/01         53          41             6
4/22/01        55          38             7
3/25/01        50          42             8

3. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. Congress is doing its job?

            Approve     Disapprove     No opinion
12/19/01      59           34              7
9/9/01        45           48              7
7/30/01       48           48              4
4/22/01       58           33              8
10/31/99      42           53              6
9/2/99        46           47              7
6/6/99        48           46              6
3/14/99       44           49              7
2/14/99       46           50              4    
12/20/98      44           51              5    
12/19/98      45           50              5    
12/13/98      49           46              5    
11/7/98       41           55              4    
11/1/98       49           47              5    
11/1/98 LV    47           51              2    
10/25/98      45           44             11    
10/25/98 LV   45           48              7    
10/18/98      46           45              8    
10/18/98 LV   45           49              5    
9/28/98       52           44              4    
9/28/98 LV    52           46              2 
8/21/98       55           39              6          
7/12/98       46           44             11          
5/12/98       45           45              9          
4/4/98        47           45              8          
1/31/98       55           35             10          
1/30/98       55           35             10          
1/25/98       56           37              8          
1/24/98       55           38              7          
1/19/98       47           49              5          
10/13/97      36           57              7          
8/27/97       39           54              7          
7/8/97        40           53              6          
4/24/97       40           53              7          
3/9/97        35           60              5          
8/5/96        42           52              7          
6/30/96       35           58              7          
5/22/96       35           60              5          
3/10/96       30           64              6          
1/7/96        31           65              5          
11/19/95      27           68              5          
10/1/95       32           65              3 
7/17/95       34           63              3         
3/19/95       39           56              5         
1/29/95       42           52              6         
10/31/94      21           72              8         
10/23/94      18           78              4         
9/11/94       24           70              5         
6/26/94       34           61              5         
3/27/94       35           62              3         
2/27/94       32           64              4         
1/23/94       29           60             11         
11/14/93      28           66              6         
8/8/93        33           64              3         
4/26/93       30           69              2         
1/17/93       29           66              6         
4/9/92        17           78              5         
3/18/92       19           76              5         
3/8/92        22           73              6         
2/2/92        32           64              4         
12/15/91      35           59              6         
10/21/91      45           50              5         
6/2/91        49           46              5 
10/14/90      34           63              3                  
2/4/90        41           55              4                  
1/16/90       39           55              6                  
8/21/89       42           53              5                  
5/23/89       54           44              2                  
2/14/89       53           44              3                  
1/23/88*      43           53              4                  
6/1/87*       56           40              4                  
6/22/85*      54           37              9                  
5/83*         33           43             24                  
6/81*         38           40             22                  
6/79*         19           61             20                  
9/78*         29           49             22                  
6/77*         34           42             24                  
6/75*         29           54             17                  
8/74*         48           35             17

*Gallup

4. Do you think the country should go in the direction (Bush wants to lead it), go in the direction (the Democrats in Congress want to lead it), or what?

                               Other    Neither  No dif.   No
            Bush   Democrats   (vol.)   (vol.)   (vol.)   opin.
12/19/01     54       28         4        9        6       0
9/9/01       41       42         4        6        1       5
7/30/01      42       43         4        6        3       3
6/3/01       40       42         5        7        3       3
4/22/01      46       36         4        6        3       4

5. What would you say is the one most important problem you would like to see Congress deal with next year?

Economy/Unemployment                          34%
Terrorism/Fear of war/Homeland security       13 
Education                                      8
Health care/prescription drug benefits         8
Social Security/Medicare                       6
Taxes                                          5
Poverty/Homelessness/Hunger                    3
Environmental issues                           2
Morality/Family decline                        2
Foreign policy/Immigration reform              2
Government/military spending/national debt     1
War on drugs                                   1
Other                                          6
No opinion                                     9

6. Based on what you know or have heard, do you think Congress has paid too much, too little, or about the right amount of attention to (INSERT ITEM). How about (NEXT ITEM)?

12/19/01

                             Too       Too        About the        No
                             much     little     right amount     opin. 
 
a. Terrorist threats in        9        39            51            1 
   this country

b. The war in Afghanistan     10        12            74            3 

c. The economy                 4        58            36            2 

d. Education                   5        62            31            3 

e. Health care                 5        73            20            2

7. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the U.S. campaign against terrorism? Do you approve/disapprove STRONGLY or SOMEWHAT?

             ---------Approve---------   --------Disapprove--------    No 
             NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Strongly   Somewhat    opin.
12/19/01     89       67         22      9         5          4         2
10/15/01     92       75         17      5         3          3         3

8. In terms of U.S. military action in Afghanistan, do you think the most difficult part is (over), or do you think the most difficult part is (yet to come)?

             Over     Yet to come     No opin.     
12/19/01      17          80             2

9. How about in terms of the broader U.S. war on terrorism - do you think the most difficult part is (over), or do you think the most difficult part is (yet to come)?

             Over     Yet to come     No opin.     
12/19/01      10          88             2

10. How confident are you that the United States will capture or kill Osama Bin Laden: are you very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident or not at all confident?

            --------Confident--------    -------Not confident------     No   
            NET     Very     Somewhat    NET     Not too     At all    opin.    
12/19/01    70       32         39       29         18         11        1
11/6/01     73       28         45       26         17          9        1
9/27/01     81       37         44       18         14          4        1

11. 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. 
12/19/01            64                    34              2 
11/6/01             64                    30              6

12. Which would you personally prefer - having bin Laden (killed), or (captured)?

             Killed     Captured     Neither (vol)     No opin. 
12/19/01       44          49             6               1

13. Would you favor or oppose:

a. having U.S. forces take military action against Iraq to force Saddam Hussein from power?

             Favor     Oppose     No opin.
12/19/01       72        24           5
11/27/01       78        17           6
10/11/94*      72        23           5
1/15/93**      82        15           3 
8/21/92 RV     65        30           5 
2/9/92         62        35           3
4/22/91        51        43           6
4/5/91         54        37           9
3/15/91        57        38           5

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

b. U.S. military strikes against suspected terrorist bases in other countries, such as Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen?

             Favor     Oppose     No opin.
12/19/01       75        22           3

14. Do you think (the United States has to remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power for the war on terrorism to be a success), or do you think (the war on terrorism can be a success without removing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power)?

             Must remove     Can succeed       No
               Hussein       w/o removing     opin.
12/19/01          61              33            6

15. On another subject, these days do you think the activities of the federal government pose a threat to your constitutional rights, or not? Is that as serious threat, or not serious?

            -------------Threat------------             No
            NET     Serious     Not serious     No     opin.
12/19/01    39         21            18         59       2
10/30/95*   55         NA            NA         42       3 

*LA Times Poll

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     None     op.    
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 . . ."

17. Do you think the United States is doing all it reasonably can do to try to prevent further terrorist attacks, or do you think it should do more?

              US doing      US should      No
             all it can      do more      opin.
12/19/01         59            40          1
11/27/01         62            36          1
11/6/01          56            43          2
10/15/01         68            29          3
10/9/01          71            27          2

18. As it conducts the war on terrorism, do you think the United States government is doing enough to protect the rights of (READ ITEM), or not? How about the rights of (NEXT ITEM)?

12/19/01

                                           Yes     No     No opin. 

a. Average Americans                        74     24        2

b. Arab-Americans and American Muslims      65     29        6

Trend:

a. Average Americans

             Yes     No     No opin. 
12/19/01      74     24        2                  
11/27/01      81     16        2

b. Arab-Americans and American Muslims

             Yes     No     No opin. 
12/19/01      65     29        6                  
11/27/01      73     19        8

19. Have September's terrorist attacks made you personally more suspicious of people who you think are of Arab descent, or not?

              Yes     No     No opin.
12/19/01       31     67        2   
10/9/01**      38     60        1   
9/13/01*       43     56        1

**"last month's terrorist attacks"
*"Do you think the attacks this week will make you personally more suspicious . . ."


© Copyright 2001 The Washington Post Company


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