Poll: More Say Iraq's Going Badly

GENERIC george bush iraq casualties war deaths injured killed CBS/AP

Half of Americans now say the U.S. rebuilding effort in Iraq is going badly -- the highest number that has said this since the President declared major fighting over -- and most believe the Bush Administration has no clear plan for the rebuilding effort, according to a new CBS News poll. Less than half think it is possible for the U.S. to create a democracy in Iraq, and Americans divide over how soon the U.S. troops should leave Iraq and turn Iraq over to the Iraqis.

While most Americans believe that Iraq still has weapons of mass destruction as yet uncovered, most say the President and his Administration were hiding information about those weapons before the war.

Only 47 percent now say U.S. rebuilding efforts in Iraq are going well -- while 50 percent describe them as going badly. Last month, only 43 percent said things were going badly. Nearly twice as many now as last month say things are going "very" badly: 22 percent say that now, up from 12 percent last month.

U.S. EFFORTS TO REBUILD IRAQ ARE GOING…

Very well
Now
5%
Last month
5%

Somewhat well
Now
42%
Last month
49%

Somewhat badly
Now
28%
Last month
31%

Very badly
Now
22%
Last month
12%



STABILIZING IRAQ
President George W. Bush has said that the U.S. will stay the course in Iraq. While more Americans back that approach than don't, the public is split on what the U.S. course of action should be: 49 percent say the U.S. should stay as long as it takes to stabilize Iraq, and 43 percent say turn things over to the Iraqis as soon as possible.

SHOULD U.S. TROOPS IN IRAQ…

Stay as long as it takes to make Iraq stable
49%
Turn things over to Iraqis as soon as possible
43%

Results on this question split along partisan lines: Two-thirds of Republicans favor staying as long as it takes, while a majority of Democrats are looking to turn things over to Iraqis as soon as possible.



Despite the divisions over the next course of action for the U.S., Americans overwhelmingly say the U.S. mission in Iraq is still not accomplished. More than two-thirds -- 69 percent -- say the United States' main mission is not yet complete; 26 percent say it already is.

THE U.S.' MAIN MISSION IN IRAQ IS…

Already completed
26%
Still not complete
69%



As for the U.S. goal of not only making Iraq stable but also fostering a democracy there, just 49 percent believe it is possible for the United States to create a democracy in Iraq, while 40 percent say the U.S. cannot do this.

CAN THE U.S. CREATE A DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ?

Yes
49%
No
40%



Americans are far more upbeat about the Iraqi peoples' ability to create a democracy for themselves: two-thirds believe the Iraqis can do that.

CAN THE IRAQI PEOPLE CREATE A DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ?

Yes
67%
No
23%



THE PRESIDENT, THE WAR AND THE WEAPONS HUNT
Approval for the President's handling of Iraq remains below 50 percent. 48 percent of Americans approve of the way the President is handling the situation with Iraq. Last month, 49 percent approved.

APPROVE OR DISSAPROVE OF BUSH'S HANDLING OF IRAQ?

Approve
Now
48%
Last month
49%

Disapprove
Now
48%
Disapprove
45%



Americans continue to say the Bush Administration has not developed a clear plan for the rebuilding effort: 60 percent say the Administration has no clear plan, and 31 percent say it has one. This is mostly unchanged from a few weeks ago.

DOES BUSH ADMINISTRATION HAVE A PLAN FOR REBUILDING IRAQ?

Yes
Now
31%
Last month
29%

No
Now
60%
Last month
59%



As the U.S. hunt for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction continues, 44 percent say that before the war started, the President was telling all or most of what he knew about those weapons. But a majority do not: 37 percent of Americans say the President was hiding important elements of what he knew about the Iraqi weapons, and another 16 percent say he was mostly lying about them.

BEFORE THE WAR, PRESIDENT BUSH WAS ...

Telling all/most of he knew about Iraqi weapons
44%
Hiding important elements of what he knew
37%
Mostly lying about weapons
16%

Americans do not draw much distinction between the President and members of his Administration in this evaluation. 40 percent say that before the war, members of the Bush Administration were hiding important information about those weapons, and another 15 percent believes the Administration was lying about the weapons. 40 percent say the Administration was telling all or most of what it knew.



Yet most Americans do believe that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction that the U.S. has not yet found. 62 percent say Iraq probably has such weapons, and less than one-third think it does not.

DOES IRAQ HAVE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION?

Yes
62%
No
31%



Americans are not convinced that stability in Iraq would really pay off in terms of their own safety. 55 percent of Americans believe that a stable Iraq would make no difference to their own safety. 38 percent believe the U.S. would be safer if Iraq were stable.

IF IRAQ BECOMES A DEMOCRACY, THE U.S. WOULD BE…

Safer from terrorism
38%
Less safe from terrorism
6%
No difference
55%



However, Americans do see the war with Iraq as part of the overall war on terror. 60 percent say it is part of the broader campaign against terror, and 35 percent say it is separate from it.

The belief that the results of the war have been worth the costs and loss of life also continues to ebb slightly: A slim majority -- 51 percent -- now says the results are not worth it, while 40 percent of Americans believe that the results are worth it.

THE RESULTS OF THE WAR IN IRAQ ARE…

Worth it
Now
40%
Last month
42%
8/2003
46%

Not worth it
Now
51%
Last month
52%
8/2003
45%



The belief that removing Saddam Hussein, specifically, was worth the costs is somewhat higher: half of Americans say it was. Yet the number who say it was not worth it continues to inch higher, up to 43 percent from 39 percent last month.

REMOVING SADDAM HUSSEIN FROM POWER WAS…

Worth it
Now
50%
Last month
52%
5/2003
65%

Not worth it
Now
43%
Last month
39%
5/2003
28%



This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 1000 adults interviewed by telephone November 10-12, 2003. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus three percentage points for results based on the entire sample.

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


  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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