Poll: Americans Want U.N. Help In Iraq

United States, Iraq Flags, Conflict, United Nations Logo AP

Most Americans don't want the United States to act alone in the post-war rebuilding of Iraq. Many Americans say they are ready to turn over the costs and responsibilities of managing newly liberated Iraq to the United Nations. And a majority continues to believe the United States should not pay the cost of rebuilding Iraq.

45 percent say the U.N. should now be involved and that it should take the lead in setting up a new Iraqi government. 13 percent say the U.N. should be involved in managing things but the United States should keep the lead role in setting up the new government. Another 34 percent say the United States should manage things entirely on its own for now.

SHOULD THE UNITED NATIONS BE INVOLVED IN IRAQ NOW?
Yes, and U.N. should lead
45%
Yes, but U.S. should still lead
13%
No, U.S. should manage alone
34%

Similarly, when asked about restoring basic services such as water and electricity in Iraq, Americans once again look to the U.N. for a lead role. 43 percent say it should be involved and take the lead, and 17 percent say it should be involved but let the U.S. lead.

Most Americans increasingly believe that the U.S. should not pay the cost of rebuilding Iraq. 58 percent say it should not, up slightly from two weeks ago. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that they do not want the U.S. to pay.

SHOULD THE U.S. PAY TO REBUILD IRAQ?
Yes
Now
38%
Two weeks ago
44%

No
Now
58%
Two weeks ago
51%

While nearly half the country says they haven't heard much about how contracts to rebuild Iraq are being awarded, many have assumed that there is a political component to the selection. Polls throughout the Bush Administration - even now -- have found majorities thinking this administration is too close to big business. In this case, nearly half of Americans - 49 percent - believe that the Bush Administration is awarding contracts for rebuilding to the companies with ties to the Republican party, and not necessarily the ones best qualified for the job. Only 31 percent believe the Administration is giving the contracts to the most qualified companies.

THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION IS GIVING IRAQ REBUILDING CONTRACTS TO...
The most qualified companies
31%
The companies with ties to Republicans
49%

THE HUNT FOR WEAPONS CONTINUES
Most Americans - 64 percent - say they are aware that no weapons of mass destruction have yet been found in Iraq. And about half of Americans now say they believe the Bush Administration overestimated the number of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the war began.

DID THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION OVERESTIMATE WEAPONS OF MASS
DESTRUCTION IN IRAQ?

Yes, it overestimated
49%
No, it accurately estimated
29%
No, it underestimated
12%

Two-thirds of those people who believe the Administration did overestimate say they believe that estimate was an exaggeration by the Bush Administration in order to build support for the war.

However, most Americans feel that the war will have been worth it even if no weapons are ever found or even if Saddam Hussein is never captured or killed. 56 percent say that war will have been worth the costs and the loss of life even if no weapons turn up or Hussein is not captured or killed.

WILL THE WAR HAVE BEEN WORTH IT IF...?
Weapons of mass destruction are never found?
Yes
56%
No
38%

Saddam Hussein is never captured or killed?
Yes
56%
No
37%


Wherever Saddam Hussein may be, about half of Americans continue to suspect his involvement in the September 11th, 2001 attacks; 52 percent say he was involved.

One apparently lasting after-effect of the war in Iraq has been the increased feeling among Americans that the U.S. is now winning the war on terror. Today, 61 percent say the U.S. is winning that war. Just after the fighting in Iraq ended, Americans said the U.S. was winning the war on terror for the first time; until then they had called it a stalemate.

WHO IS WINNING THE WAR ON TERROR?
The U.S. and its allies
Now
61%
Two Weeks ago
59%
3/15-16
45%

The terrorists
Now
9%
Two weeks ago
10%
3/15-16
14%

Neither side
Now
26%
Two weeks ago
27%
3/15-16
34%

One casualty of the war, according to the public, is the state of U.S. relations with its allies. Today, 51 percent of Americans think relations between the U.S. and its European allies are worse than they were two years ago.

U.S. RELATIONS WITH EUROPEAN ALLIES ARE...?
Better than 2 years ago
9%
Worse than 2 years ago
51%
Same as 2 years ago
33%



This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 910 adults, interviewed by telephone May 9-12, 2003. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus three percentage points for results based on the entire sample. Sampling error for sub-groups may be higher.

For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.

  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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