When the House voted two weeks ago to authorize President Bush to use military force against Iraq, members of Congress with doubts about going to war had plenty of company: 183 of them took the position that the U.S. should continue to use economic sanctions, rather than immediate military action, to compel Saddam Hussein to leave Kuwait.

But last week, after war had begun and U.S. troops were already in combat against Iraq, only 12 House members stuck their necks out by voting no or present on a resolution supporting U.S. troops and commending Bush for his leadership as commander in chief. No one opposed the resolution in the Senate.

While other members of Congress supported the president, whatever their doubts, this group -- 11 Democrats and one Independent -- took the position that commending Bush was a tacit endorsement of his decision to go to war.

As the first signs of partisan divisions begin to develop over support for the war, the group appears to have avoided any political damage from the vote. In fact, many of the dozen dissenters -- 10 of whom are liberal, black members from inner-city, majority-black districts that are generally safe political havens for incumbents and heavily Democratic -- report solid support for their lonely position.

The other two who failed to support the resolution are Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez (D-Tex.), a veteran iconoclast who has introduced a resolution of impeachment against Bush for his actions against Iraq, and Rep. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), a socialist elected to Congress in November.

Staff members report that a week later, the calls and mail coming into their offices are running heavily against the war.

In the office of Rep. Major R. Owens (D-N.Y.), for example, the mail is about 100-1 anti-war and the phone calls are about 20-1 in opposition, according to a spokesman.

That sentiment, according to Owens, comes despite the large number of his consituents now serving with U.S. forces in the gulf. "Were this resolution simply an expression of moral support for these brave men and women, I would not hesitate to vote yes," said Owens in a statement explaining his decision to vote present. "Unfortunately, this resolution goes beyond that and implicitly endorses the president's initiation of war against Iraq."

The high proportion of black congressmen -- 10 out of 24 -- voting against the resolution -- reflects the relative lack of enthusiasm for the war among black Americans.

The disparity between how blacks and whites view the war is large, according to a nationwide Washington Post-ABC News poll of 532 adults conducted Sunday. The survey found 79 percent of whites approve of going to war with Iraq, and 19 percent disapprove, while 47 percent of blacks endorsed going to war and 53 percent disapproved.

Asked if his vote against the resolution has had negative repercussions for him, Rep. Craig Washington (D-Tex.) said: "Heavens no. . . . . The biggest complaint I've had is they expected me to stop {the war} from happening."

The reaction has not been entirely uniform, however. Sanders, the Independent from Vermont, said that a "bad article" in a Vermont paper about his vote had prompted some critical phone calls to his office, but cited a large anti-war march in Montpelier as indicative of support for his position. Sanders's mail and calls are about equally split on his vote, said a spokesman.

The vote against the resolution has been an enormous plus for Rep. Charles A. Hayes (D-Ill.), according to his press spokesman. Of the nearly 200 letters received in Hayes's office, only one -- and that was from out of state -- opposed his position.

"Everybody's supporting him," said Bruce Taylor, Hayes's spokesman. "This is one of the best positions he's held." Staff writer Gwen Ifill contributed to this report.