Poll suggests majority supports Iraq efforts

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

WASHINGTON -- Most Americans still say things are going at least fairly well in Iraq, but the number who think things are going badly has tripled since early May, a new poll says.

Just over half, 56 percent, say things are going well, according to a CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll, and 42 percent say badly.

The number who said things are going well has dipped from 86 percent in early May to 56 percent, and the number that say badly has grown from 13 percent to 42 percent.

More than 60 U.S. troops have died in Iraq, more than a third of them in hostile action, since President Bush declared May 1 that major combat had ended.

The public continues to show support for both the president, with a 61 percent job approval rating in this poll, and the overall Iraq effort.

Two-thirds say they are confident that the United States will be able to rebuild the Iraqi economy, and just over half say they are confident the United States will be able to stop the attacks against its soldiers, establish a stable government and find weapons of mass destruction.

The number that expects the United States to find weapons of mass destruction, however, has dropped from 84 percent in late March to 53 percent now.

Almost four in 10 say they believe the Bush administration deliberately misled the public about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, while six in 10 say they do not believe that.

More than half, 53 percent, say it would matter a great deal to them if they became convinced the Bush administration deliberately misled the public on that subject.

The poll of 1,003 adults was taken Friday through Sunday and has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points, larger for subgroups.

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