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March 22, 2003
 
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(AP Photo)
Polls Suggest Bush's Approval Surging
Polls Suggest President Bush's Approval Has Surged After Start of Iraq War

The Associated Press


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WASHINGTON March 22

Public approval of President Bush has surged after the start of the war with Iraq, but not to the levels of support his father enjoyed during the Persian Gulf War a dozen years ago, polls suggest.

About two-thirds of Americans approve President Bush's handling of the Iraq situation and think he did enough diplomatically before invading, according to polls released Friday.

An ABC-Washington Post poll found the president's job approval rating at 67 percent, up from prewar polls that showed his approval level ranging from the middle 50s to about 60 percent.

A CBS-New York Times poll found that 62 percent say they think the United States did the right thing about Iraq. Slightly more in a CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll, 70 percent, said they agreed this country acted at the right time.

The public rallying around the president is typical in wartime, although President George H.W. Bush, father of the current president, got a bigger boost in his war with Iraq a dozen years ago.

In 1991, about 80 percent approved the president's handling of the situation in Iraq, and about the same percentage approved of his overall job performance after an international coalition moved to evict Iraqi troops from neighboring Kuwait. The same proportion also thought the president had done enough diplomatically before taking military action.

The lower support for the president's handling of the current military action apparently relates to the failure of the United States to win substantial international support for this war.

But polls still indicated that the onset of war is giving this president a boost. An Ipsos-Reid Poll done for the Cook Political Report indicated that more than half in the poll, 53 percent, said the country is on the right track, a reversal from recent polls on this key measure of public optimism. Almost half, 46 percent, said in the poll in late March that they would vote to re-elect Bush as president, the highest number on that measure since the spring of 2002.

Prewar polls showed the public was split on whether the military should have gone into action without the backing of the United Nations.

The ABC-Post poll of 506 adults has an error margin of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. The CBS-Times poll of 463 adults has an error margin of plus or minus 5 percentage points. The CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll of 602 adults has an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Those three polls were taken Thursday.

The Ipsos-Reid poll of 804 registered voters was taken Tuesday through Thursday and has an error margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Among the polls' other findings:

About three-fourths in the polls expressed support for the decision to go to war. About nine of 10 Republicans supported it, and about half of Democrats.

Just over a third expect substantial U.S. casualties, down from the number who expected substantial casualties early this month, according to the ABC-Post poll.

Just under four in 10 expect the fighting will last a few days or weeks.

People were divided about whether Iraqi President Saddam Hussein must be captured or killed for the U.S. military action to be considered a success.

Concerns about the possibility of terrorism are high, but have not increased substantially since the war started.


photo credit and caption:
President Bush leaves the White House, Friday, March 21, 2003, to spend the weekend at the presidential retreat at Camp David. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
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