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CBS Poll: No Rush On Ground War

Americans are generally pleased with the way the war on terrorism is unfolding but are in no hurry for the U.S. to launch a ground war, according to a CBS News poll.

With the uncertainty surrounding the immediate aftermath of the attacks behind them, this poll shows Americans are also feeling less uncertain about the economy. Greater numbers now say the economy is good, and expect it to stay that way. Fears of recession, though still felt, have also diminished.

The War

Americans would prefer to wait to begin any sort of ground war. A total of 26 percent say the United States should begin fighting a ground war very soon, while 55 percent want the U.S. to continue to bomb from the air for the next few weeks.

Should The Ground War Begin Soon?
Yes 26%
No 55%

Although both men and women would prefer to continue bombing, 32 percent of men support sending in ground troops, compared with 21 percent of women.

The U.S. is seen as making progress in the bombing, with 80 percent saying the war is going well for the U.S. Fewer than 1 in 10 say it is going somewhat or very badly.

How Is The War Going For The U.S.?
Very well 36%
Somewhat well 44%
Badly 8%

In addition, after several days of bombing, Americans are more confident than they were earlier this week that the U.S. can achieve its military goals without significant Afghan civilian casualties. More than 80 percent are now confident of that, compared with 72 percent who felt that way in interviews conducted on Monday.

Confident U.S. Can Achieve Goals Without Significant Afghan Civilian Casualties?
Yes 10/9 81% 10/8 72%
No 10/9 15% 10/8 25%

The Economy

Concerns about the economy that spiked in the weeks after the attacks have dissipated somewhat since then. With the economy already shaky, the Sept. 11 attacks increased the number of Americans who felt the country was entering a recession.

The day after the attacks, 48 percent felt the U.S. was in a recession — the largest number who felt that way recorded in the past year. Ten days after the attack, fears of recession had grown to include 63 percent of Americans. Now, although a majority of Americans still think the U.S. economy is in a recession, that has decreased. More than 50 percent say the U.S. is currently in a recession (still more than before the September attacks) and 21 percent say it is near to one.

CBSNEWS - New York Times Polls
Is The U.S. In An Economic Recession?

Yes, in recession





Near a recession





No, and not near recession






More women than men think the U.S. is currently in or near to a recession.

While most still sense recession, Americans are rallying around their economy just as they are rallying around their country and their president. Two-thirds now say the economy is in good shape, up from 53 percent 10 days after the attack. Nearly 30 percent think it is now in bad shape. Ten days ago, 44 percent felt that way. Positive views of the economy now surpass those reported in August, before the nation was embroiled in the current military conflict.

CBSNEWS - New York Times Polls
Current State Of The Economy










The longer term outlook for the economy has also improved. Now, a majority of Americans see the economy as stabilizing; 52 percent think the economy will stay the same, compared to 35 percent who thought so last month. And only half as many now think the economy is getting worse than thought so just after the September attacks.

CBSNEWS - New York Times Polls
The Economy Is...

Getting Better



Getting Worse



Staying The Same




The President

As was the case earlier this week, about 9 out of 10 Americans approve of the way President Bush is handling the attacks, and of his overall job as president. Along with his other ratings, President Bush's approval rating on handling the economy has recently soared. More than 70 percent now approve of the way he is handling the economy, up from 43 percent prior to the attacks. That is the highest economic approval rating Mr. Bush has received since taking office earlier this year.

This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 434 adults, interviewd by telephone October 9, 2001. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus five percentage points for results based on the entire sample.

©MMI CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved

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