Poll - Part 2

IRAQ: U.S. marines patrol Baghdad's al-Manssour district Monday April 14, 2003. U.S. marines spreadethrough the city and stepped up security after Iraqis expressed their anger over lawlessnes that engulfed the capital in recent days. AP

THE WAR IN IRAQ AND THE WAR ON TERROR
The U.S. troops' military success in Iraq seems to have made Americans more optimistic about the broader war on terror. For the first time, a majority of Americans says the U.S. is winning the war against terrorism. Concerns about an increased terrorist threat against the United States due to the war with Iraq are lower than they have been since last year.

62 percent of Americans now say the United States and its allies are winning the broader war against terrorism - an increase of 17 points from before the war in Iraq started, and nearly twice as many who felt that way last fall.

WHO'S WINNING THE WAR AGAINST TERROR?

U.S. and its allies
Now
62%
3/03
45%
1/03
32%
10/02
34%

Terrorists
Now
7%
3/03
14%
1/03
17%
10/02
14%

Neither side
Now
25%
3/03
34%
1/03
44%
10/02
47%

The poll clearly demonstrates the public's belief in a link between Iraq and terrorism. Overall, over half of the public sees the war with Iraq as a major part of a broader war on terror; another 13 percent sees it as a minor part. 30 percent, however, does not think of the war in Iraq as part of the war on terror. These views have not changed in the past two weeks.

IS IRAQ WAR PART OF WAR ON TERROR?

Yes, major part
All
53%
Rep.
68%
Dem.
40%

Yes, minor part
All
13%
Rep.
12%
Dem.
13%

No, separate
All
30%
Rep.
17%
Dem.
42%

Views of Republicans and Democrats differ on this question, with most Republicans viewing the war in Iraq as part of the broader war on terrorism, and Democrats more divided.

53 percent of Americans now believe Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11th terrorist attacks in the U.S., unchanged from the beginning of this month. This is somewhat higher, however, than before the start of the war in Iraq, when 45 percent thought Saddam Hussein had personal involvement in September 11th.

WAS SADDAM HUSSEIN PERSONALLY INVOLVED IN 9/11 ATTACKS?
Yes
53%
No
38%

There are also significant party differences in views on Saddam Hussein's role in terrorism.

Those opinions are directly linked to assessments of who is winning the war on terrorism. 76 percent of those who think the war in Iraq is a major part of the war on terror now say the U.S. and its allies are winning that war, as do 69 percent of those who believe Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11th terrorist attacks on the U.S.

WHO IS WINNING THE WAR ON TERROR?

Think Iraq is:
Major part of war on terror
U.S. & Allies
76%
Neither
15%

Not part of war on terror
U.S. & Allies
37%
Neither
43%

Think Saddam Hussein is:
Personally involved in 9-11
U.S. & Allies
69%
Neither
20%

Not Involved in 9-11
U.S. & Allies
54%
Neither
33%

Those who say the war with Iraq is separate from the war on terror are more likely to say neither side is winning than are those who think Iraq is a part of the war on terror. The same is true for those who don't think Saddam Hussein was involved in the September 11th attacks, as compared to those who do.

Just one-third of Americans now think the threat of terrorism against the U.S. will increase because of the war in Iraq - the lowest in half a year, and a decrease of fifteen points from just ten days ago. 19 percent now say the war in Iraq will cause the terrorist threat to decrease, the highest in six months. 45 percent think terrorist threats will stay about the same, despite the war in Iraq.

WAR IN IRAQ WILL CAUSE TERRORIST THREAT AGAINST U.S. TO:

Increase
Now
34%
4/2-3
49%
1/2003
62%
11/2002
64%

Decrease
Now
19%
4/2-3
10%
1/2003
8%
11/2002
9%

Stay the same
Now
45%
4/2-3
39%
1/2003
28%
11/2002
23%

THE WAR'S IMPACT ON THE MIDDLE EAST
Most Americans view the benefits of the war and regime change in Iraq as a positive change not just for Iraqis, but throughout the entire region. About six in ten think the war and removing Hussein will lead to greater stability in the Middle East, and over half think those events will lead to greater democracy there.

WILL REMOVING HUSSEIN LEAD TO MORE STABILITY IN MIDEAST?
Yes
62%
No
29%

WILL REMOVING HUSSEIN LEAD TO MORE DEMOCRACY IN MIDEAST?
Yes
59%
No
32%

Most also think Arabs are welcoming the change in regime, rather than suspicious of what will happen with the U.S. in charge. 52 percent think most Arabs are feeling happy that Hussein is gone, but 35 percent think Arabs now feel resentful of a U.S. occupation of Iraq.

But the public acknowledges that the war with Iraq has probably damaged Arab views of America, although more are optimistic about this than were just ten days ago. 34 percent think the war with Iraq is making the image of the U.S. in the Arab world better, up nearly 20 points in ten days. 44 percent think it is making views of the U.S. worse among Arabs, down from 58 percent earlier in the month. Those who disapprove of the war are especially likely to see it as damaging to the U.S.' reputation among Arabs.

WAR HAS MADE U.S. IMAGE AMONG ARABS:

Better
Now
34%
4/2-3
15%

Worse
Now
44%
4/2-3
58%

No difference
Now
13%
4/2-3
14%

THE WAR'S IMPACT ON THE PRESIDENT
George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has risen since the war in Iraq began, and support for his handling of the situation in Iraq remains strong. His ratings on handling the economy, however, remain the President's weak point.

73 percent of Americans now approve of the overall job Bush is doing as President, up from 67 percent ten days ago, and his highest approval rating since last July. The President's rating on his handling of the situation with Iraq has also increased a great deal now that it appears the Iraqi regime is no longer in control of that country. Now, 79 percent of Americans approve of his handling of Iraq, up from 69 percent ten days ago.

But on his handling of the economy, the public is split. While 46 percent approve of the job Bush is doing on the economy, nearly as many - 41 percent - disapprove. President Bush received a bit of a bump on this measure during the initial stages of the war as Americans rallied around the President, but that support may be starting to ebb. Just a few weeks ago, more than half - 52 percent - approved of his handling of the economy.

BUSH JOB APPROVAL RATINGS

Overall
Now
73%
4/2-3
67%
3/23-24
71%
3/15-16
58%

Iraq
Now
79%
4/2-3
69%
3/23-24
74%
3/15-16
55%

Economy
Now
46%
4/2-3
--
3/23-24
52%
3/15-16
38%

MILITARY ACTION AND THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION
Most Americans have confidence in the President and his Administration when it comes to dealing with international crises; positive views of both the Administration and the President have risen slightly since June 2002. 66 percent say they have confidence in George W. Bush's ability to deal wisely with an international crisis; just slightly less, 63 percent, have confidence in his Administration. Last June 58 percent had confidence in the Administration and 62 percent had confidence in President Bush.

CONFIDENT OR UNEASY ABOUT HANDLING INTERNATIONAL CRISES?

Confident
George W. Bush
66%
Bush Administration
63%

Uneasy
George W. Bush
31%
Bush Administration
32%

For their general handling of international problems, both are given credit for pursuing diplomatic efforts and not rushing to war. 58 percent think members of the Administration try hard enough at diplomacy. 61 percent think the President himself tries hard enough to reach diplomatic solutions, while 32 percent think he is too quick to get the military involved. As the war in Iraq neared, more and more Americans gave the President credit for diplomacy in that standoff.

TRY FOR DIPLOMACY, OR QUICK TO USE MILITARY FORCE?

Try enough diplomacy
George W. Bush
61%
Bush Administration
58%

Quick to use force
George W. Bush
32%
Bush Administration
36%

Nevertheless, George W. Bush and his Administration are viewed as facing damaged U.S. relations with other countries, especially those in Europe. 54 percent think relations with European allies are worse now than they were two years ago, and 49 percent think U.S. relations with other countries in the world are worse. And Americans have mixed views as to how their President is viewed abroad; 47 percent think other world leaders respect him, but nearly as many - 42 percent -- think other leaders do not. The success in Iraq has had little impact on Americans' views on this question.

DO WORLD LEADERS RESPECT BUSH?
Yes
47%
No
42%

THE NATION'S ECONOMY
As the U.S. military operation in Iraq draws to a close, the economy is the top issue on the minds of the American public. 33 percent mention the economy and jobs as the most important problem facing the country. Far behind are Iraq and the war, cited by 10 percent, followed by terrorism at 7 percent.

MOST IMPORTANT PROBLEM FACING THE COUNTRY

Economy and jobs
Now
33%
3/1991
36%

Iraq/Persian Gulf
Now
10%
3/1991
2%

Terrorism
Now
7%
3/1991
--

Back in March 1991, shortly after the conclusion of the Persian Gulf War, the economy and jobs was also the top concern of Americans. 36 percent cited this as the most important problem facing the country, while just 2 percent mentioned the Mid-East or the Persian Gulf.

Even though the economy is the public's top concern, their perceptions of the nation's economy are more positive than they were prior to the start of the war, when most thought the economy was in bad condition. Now, half say the economy is in good shape; 46 percent say it is in bad shape.

VIEWS OF THE NATION'S ECONOMY

Good
Now
50%
3/20-21
50%
3/15-16
38%

Bad
Now
46%
3/20-21
49%
3/15-16
60%

However, the public's outlook for the economy remains pessimistic. Less than one in five say the economy is getting better, 31% say it is getting worse, and half say it is staying the same.

IS THE ECONOMY ...
Getting better
17%
Getting worse
31%
Staying the same
49%

Democrats are more pessimistic about the future economy than Republicans. By 48 percent to 14 percent, more Democrats than Republicans say the economy is getting worse. Also, women are less optimistic about the economy than men: 39 percent of women think the economy is getting worse, and 23 percent of men do.

Half of Americans say the President is paying as much attention to the economy as he can during this time of war. However, 43 percent say he should be paying more attention. These numbers are very similar to those accorded George H.W. Bush at the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

IS THE PRESIDENT PAYING AS MUCH ATTENTION AS HE SHOULD TO THE ECONOMY NOW?

G.W. Bush - Now
Yes
51%
No
43%

G.H.W.Bush - 1991
Yes
55%
No
38%

Americans have confidence that President Bush will make the right decisions about the nation's economy. 54 percent are confident in his ability, while 42 percent are uneasy about his approach. This is an improvement from earlier this year, when less than half were confident in his approach to the economy.

CONFIDENT BUSH WILL MAKE RIGHT DECISIONS ABOUT THE ECONOMY?

Yes
Now
54%
1/2002
47%

No
Now
42%
1/2002
50%

The military success in Iraq and the apparent demise of Saddam Hussein's regime may have given the American people cause to feel generally positive about the way things are going in the U.S., despite concerns about the economy. 56 percent say things in this country are going in the right direction -- the highest number since December of 2001, not long after the attacks of September 11th and the initial stages of military action in Afghanistan.

COUNTRY IS HEADED IN THE...

Right direction
Now
56%
3/20-21
53%
2/10-12
35%
12/7-10/01
64%

Wrong track
Now
36%
3/20-21
41%
2/10-12
56%
12/7-10/01
27%

But there are partisan differences. By a large margin, Republicans feel the country is headed in the right direction; 72 percent feel this way. 53 percent of Democrats say things have gotten off on the wrong track. Those who view the economy as being in good condition are more likely to feel things in this country are going in the right direction than are those who say the economy is in bad shape.


This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 898 adults, interviewed by telephone April 11-13, 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.

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