Poll: The War Beyond Afghanistan

CBS News/New York Times poll graphic CBS/AP

After more than three months of military attacks, the public remains overwhelmingly supportive of the war effort in Afghanistan and is ready and willing to expand the war on terrorism to other countries that are harboring terrorists. But even though support for the war is strong, Americans are not ready to declare victory in Afghanistan until Osama bin Laden is capture or killed.


Where Will The War Go Next?

Americans are supportive of the United States leading military attacks in countries where it believes terrorists are hiding, like Iraq, Somalia and the Philippines. Nearly three-fourths approve of U.S. led attacks in these countries, while less than a fifth disapprove of them.

CBSNEWS - New York Times Polls
Support For U.S.-Led Attacks In Countries Hiding Terrorists

 ApproveDisapprove
Percentage

73%

18%

CBSNEWS Polls

There continues to be strong public support for such military action even if other countries refuse to support the U.S. in its effort, although support is a bit lower. A majority — 65 percent - say they approve of U.S. military action in countries believed to be hiding terrorists like Iraq, Somalia and the Philippines, even if other countries don't get behind the United States, while 26 percent of Americans disapprove of attacks in such a case. Women are somewhat more reluctant than men to approve of U.S.-led military attacks in countries hiding terrorists without the support of other nations; 70 percent of men support such military action, compared to 60 percent of women.


Osama Bin Laden

Most Americans do not think the United States can claim victory in Afghanistan unless Osama bin Laden, the man believed to have planned the Sept. 11 attacks, is captured or killed.


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Now, 61 percent say the war in Afghanistan will not be won unless bin Laden is captured, while 31 percent feel the war can be considered won regardless of whether he is caught or not.

CBSNEWS - New York Times Polls
Will War Be Won If Bin Laden Is Not Killed Or Captured?

 NowJan. 18Jan. 7
Yes

31%

29%

28%


 NowJan. 18Jan. 7
No

61%

56%

60%

CBSNEWS Polls

This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 1,034 adults, interviewed by telephone January 21-24, 2002. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points.

Most Americans remain confident that bin Laden will be found. Almost three-quarters are very or somewhat confident that bin Laden will be captured or killed, while only 25 percent are not confident of his capture.


Terrorism At Home

The expectation of another terrorist attack in the United States is significantly lower than it was last fall. Now, only 23 percent feel it is very likely a terrorist attack could occur within the next few months, compared to 53 percent who felt that way back in October. Still, 71 percent of Americans say it is likely another terrorist attack could occur in the United States within the next few months.


Support For The War

Eighty-seven percent of Americans now approve of the military attacks against Afghanistan, a number that has not wavered since the start of the attacks in October. Less than one in ten disapprove of the attacks.

The public is also satisfied with the way the war is progressing. Nine in 10 Americans now say the war is going well for the United States; only 9 percent feel the war is going badly. However, the number who say the war is going very well has dropped somewhat. Currently, 38 percent say the war is going very well compared to 51 percent who felt this way in early December.


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  • Brian Bernbaum

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