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Bush Approval up 19 points to 70 percent!

Bush Approval up 19 points to 70 percent!
merican support for President Bush's policy in Iraq has surged now that the war has begun, but there are deep partisan divisions in the nation's view of the conflict, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.

The poll found that 70 percent of Americans approved of Mr. Bush's handling of Iraq, an increase of 19 points in 10 days. The percentage of people who disapproved of Mr. Bush's Iraqi policy dropped 15 points, to 27 percent, during that same period.

The nationwide telephone poll was conducted on Thursday evening, one day after allied forces made their first attack on Baghdad. It was completed before yesterday's prolonged and televised aerial bombardment of the Iraqi capital.

The increase in support for Mr. Bush's war policies is in keeping with the rallying around a White House that typically occurs at the onset of a national crisis.

But in this case, the sentiment is tempered by a striking difference in opinion between Democrats and Republicans about both the president and the war he began on Wednesday night.

While 93 percent of Republicans said they approved of Mr. Bush's handling of Iraq, just 50 percent of Democrats did. By contrast, President George Bush enjoyed overwhelming support, from Democrats and Republicans alike, for his Iraq policy at an equivalent point in the 1991 conflict: 94 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of Democrats said they supported that war, in which an allied coalition drove Iraq out of Kuwait after Saddam Hussein's forces invaded that country.

"We've taken it upon ourselves to become invaders," Barb Scripps, 49, a Democrat from Evergreen, Colo., said in a follow-up interview. "Sept. 11 happened and the world looked at us and could feel empathy for us, and now they're just going to say, `You had it coming for what you did.' "

In contrast, Anne Alexander, 27, a Republican of Rushville, N.Y., said: "It's quite obvious they have weapons of mass destruction. If we would have kept putting it off, we would have done a Clinton, and it would have been 10 more years before we actually invaded, and by that time we would have ended in more trouble than we needed to be."

Despite the surge in support for Mr. Bush's Iraq policy, the president has so far not enjoyed as large a burst of approval as other presidents, including his father, experienced during war. While 67 percent of Americans now say they approve of Mr. Bush's job performance, that is an increase of 11 points. By contrast, the job approval rating for Mr. Bush's father jumped 22 points, to 86 percent, at this point in the Persian Gulf war.

The poll was taken of a group of 463 adults who had been interviewed for a Times/CBS News poll conducted on March 7 to March 9. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus five percentage points.

The poll was taken 24 hours after Mr. Bush announced that American forces had launched an air attack on Baghdad. Those strikes were limited and did not compare with the more dramatic attack that began the 1991 war, or what took place in in the Iraqi capital yesterday.

Even before the war had roared into the full engagement that was evident yesterday, there was evidence of growing worry among Americans that Mr. Bush's effort to dislodge Saddam Hussein could lead to civilian deaths. The poll found that just 38 percent say the United States should attack all targets, including heavily populated areas, to get Mr. Hussein, a drop from 50 percent 10 days ago.

And 53 percent said the United States should concentrate its firepower away from civilian centers, an increase of 10 points.

This is clearly an uneasy time for the nation, with its citizens nervous about reprisals at home and trouble abroad. Fifty-four percent said they were more worried now that war has begun, compared to 34 percent who said they were relived that the waiting was over.

Nearly 60 percent said they thought the threat of terrorism against the United States had increased now that the war has begun. In a Times/CBS News poll right after bombing began in 1991 a time, in retrospect, of relative tranquility on American shores 85 percent said it was very or somewhat likely that there would be "a major terrorist attack in the United States in the near future."

The breakdown in support between the two parties is reminiscent of the partisan divide that marked the later years of the Vietnam War. It seems to be shaping perceptions of Mr. Bush as he leads the nation into a war whose outcome could determine his political potency as he heads into his re-election campaign.

In this latest poll, Mr. Bush's performance is approved by 95 percent of Republicans, but just 37 percent of Democrats. At a similar point in the last Iraq war, the job approval rating for Mr. Bush's father was 94 percent among Republicans and 83 percent among Democrats.

Even today, there are signs that the public is unsure of Mr. Bush's motivations in launching this attack. While 50 percent said his main interest is removing Mr. Hussein, 20 percent said he is trying to halt the proliferation of weapons, and 16 percent said his first interest was protecting America's oil supply.

A few early perceptions about the war are beginning to take shape. Americans, presumably taking a lesson from Afghanistan and 1991, are more likely to expect this war to be quick: 51 percent said it would last a few weeks, compared with 40 percent who said it would last several months. By contrast, just 34 percent said at the outset of the last war that they believed it would last for a few weeks.

The poll suggested a number of ways the nation was rallying behind Mr. Bush's argument. For example, 74 percent approve of the United States taking military action to remove Mr. Hussein from power, up from 66 percent 10 days ago. Of those who supported military action, 60 percent said they held that position because it was "the right thing to do," compared with 13 percent who said they were doing it out of support for the president.

And 60 percent said they had confidence that Mr. Bush had made the right decision in Iraq, compared with 38 percent who said they were uneasy with his decision. In another sign of a patriotic rally, the nation's opinion of Congress has gone over the 50 percent mark for the first time since the fall of 2001; 52 percent now approve of its performance

homepage: homepage: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/22/international/worldspecial/22POLL.html

shuuuure 22.Mar.2003 06:54

peacey

you know where you can stick that biased poll

Looks like somewhat conditional support 22.Mar.2003 08:18

Under Construction

The report notes that the results are in line with typical results fromthe past- the "rally round the flag" boost.

It also demonstrates just how divided opinion in the US is, and at least alludes to some strong undercurrents of doubt about the ultimate results of the Bush regime following the PNAC clique's prescriptions.

I also notice that Bush the Lesser is benfiting less from his war than his father did.

This is reminiscent of the way that the management of a corporation can usually engineer a blip in their stock price by laying off workers or releasing other carefully-timed "news".

Of course, if the real value isn't actually there, the blip is temporary and the company's market valuation eventually returns to reality. Vide Enron, among others.

It remains to be seen whether the Bushites will continue to act on their announced doctrine of trying to dominate the world by bullying and blackmail, and if they do, how the public will respond to yet more wars of elective surgery.

War is an awfully expensive way to distract people from the internal issues facing our society. Conquest is not a sustainable way to prop up an economy and avoid having to address its structural problems. As for using it to manipulate public opinion, there is such a thing as desensitization.

We won't really know where public opinion is going to settle until Bush starts another war. Then we'll see how long it takes for the same ol' shit to get old.

A message from the past. 22.Mar.2003 13:00

Sparky

"Why, of course, the people don't want war, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders . . . All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg war-crimes tribunal.