Iraq, 9/11, Al Qaeda and Weapons of Mass Destruction: What the Public Believes Now, According to Latest Harris Poll

    ROCHESTER, N.Y., Feb. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The latest Harris Poll conducted
 following the recent elections in Iraq finds that on many aspects U.S. adults
 have not changed their basic views about Iraq with one important exception:
 The number of adults who favor bringing troops home in the next year has
 increased significantly to its highest level since October 2003 when Harris
 Interactive(R) first measured the public's opinions on this issue.
     Specifically, almost six in 10 (59%) adults now favor bringing most troops
 home in the next year and 39 percent favor keeping a large number of troops in
 Iraq until there is a stable government there. In November, less than half
 (47%) favored bringing troops home and half (50%) favored keeping troops in
 Iraq.
     However, the public remains split on whether the invasion of Iraq
 strengthened (46%) or weakened (48%) the war on terrorism.
     These are some of the results of a nationwide Harris Poll of 1,012 U.S.
 adults surveyed by telephone by Harris Interactive between February 8 and 13,
 2005.
     On other issues concerning Iraq, the attitudes of large majorities of the
 public have not changed significantly in the past few months.
 
     -- 88 percent of U.S. adults believe that Saddam Hussein would have made
        weapons of mass destruction if he could have (down slightly from 90% in
        November).
     -- 76 percent believe that the Iraqis are better off now than they were
        under Saddam Hussein (same as November).
     -- 64 percent believe that history will give the U.S. credit for bringing
        freedom and democracy to Iraq (up slightly from 63% in November).
     -- 64 percent believe that Saddam Hussein had strong links to Al Qaeda (up
        slightly from 62% in November).
     -- 61 percent believe that Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, was a serious
        threat to U.S. security (down slightly from 63% in November).
 
     More surprising perhaps are the large numbers (albeit not majorities) who
 believe the following claims not made by the president and which virtually no
 experts believe to be true:
 
     -- 47 percent believe that Saddam Hussein helped plan and support the
        hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001 (up six
        percentage points from November).
     -- 44 percent actually believe that several of the hijackers who attacked
        the U.S. on September 11 were Iraqis (up significantly from 37% in
        November).
     -- 36 percent believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the
        U.S. invaded (down slightly from 38% in November).
 
     Another interesting finding is that only 46 percent believe that Saddam
 Hussein was prevented from developing weapons of mass destruction by the U.N.
 weapons inspectors, a fact which most reports now support.
 
 
                                    TABLE 1
   FAVOR KEEPING LARGE NUMBER OF U.S. TROOPS IN IRAQ OR BRINGING MOST HOME IN
                                   NEXT YEAR
  "Do you favor keeping a large number of U.S. troops in Iraq until there is a
 stable government there OR bringing most of our troops home in the next year?"
 
      Base: All Adults
 
                      Oct.   Feb. April  June   Aug.  Sept.  Oct.  Nov.   NOW
                      2003   2004 2004   2004   2004  2004   2004  2004
                        %     %      %     %      %      %     %     %     %
     Favor keeping a
      large number of
      U.S. troops in
      Iraq until there
      is a stable
      government there  46    45     42    39     40     38    47    50   39
     Favor bringing
      most of our
      troops home in
      the next year     47    51     51    56     54     54    50    47   59
     Not sure/Refused    7     4      8     6      5      7     3     2    1
 
     NOTE: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding.
 
 
                                    TABLE 2
             DID INVASION OF IRAQ STRENGTHEN/WEAKEN WAR ON TERROR?
     "Do you think the invasion of Iraq strengthened or weakened the war on
                                  terrorism?"
 
      Base: All Adults
 
                                     June   Aug.   Sept.   Oct.   Nov.   NOW
                                     2004   2004    2004   2004   2004
                                       %      %      %       %      %     %
     Strengthened the war on
      terrorism                        52     50      43     52     48    46
     Weakened the war on terrorism     38     40      41     45     48    48
     Not sure/Refused                  10     10      16      3      4     6
 
 
                                    TABLE 3
                        WHAT PUBLIC BELIEVES TO BE TRUE
      "Do you believe that the following statements are true or not true?"
                       (Total percentages saying "true")
 
      Base: All Adults
 
                                                      October        February
                                                         2004           2005
                                                            %              %
     Saddam Hussein would have made weapons
      of mass destruction if he could have.                90             88
     The Iraqis are better off now than
      they were under Saddam Hussein.                      76             76
     History will give the U.S. credit for
      bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq.              63             64
     Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, was a serious
      threat to U.S. security.                             63             61
     Saddam Hussein had strong links with Al Qaeda.        62             64
     Saddam Hussein was prevented from developing
      weapons of mass destruction by United Nations'
      weapons inspectors.                                  45             46
     Saddam Hussein helped plan and support the
      hijackers who attacked the U.S. on
      September 11, 2001.                                  41             47
     Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when
      the U.S. invaded.                                    38             36
     Several of the hijackers who attacked the
      U.S. on September 11 were Iraqis.                    37             44
 
     Methodology
     The Harris Poll(R) was conducted by telephone within the United States
 between February 8 and 13, 2005 among a nationwide cross section of 1,012
 adults aged 18 and over. Figures for age, sex, race, education, number of
 adults, number of voice/telephone lines in the household, region and size of
 place were weighted where necessary to align them with their actual
 proportions in the population.
     In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95
 percent certainty that the results have a sampling error of plus or minus 3
 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult population
 had been polled with complete accuracy. Unfortunately, there are several other
 possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more
 serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals
 to be interviewed (nonresponse), question wording and question order,
 interviewer bias, weighting by demographic control data and screening (e.g.,
 for likely voters). It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result
 from these factors.
     These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National
 Council on Public Polls.
 
      J23283
      Q462, Q465, Q485
 
     The Harris Poll(R) #14, February 18, 2005
     By David Krane, senior vice president of Harris Interactive Public Policy
 research and editor of The Harris Poll.
 
     About Harris Interactive(R)
     Harris Interactive Inc. (http://www.harrisinteractive.com), the 15th
 largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world, is a Rochester,
 N.Y.-based global research company that blends premier strategic consulting
 with innovative and efficient methods of investigation, analysis and
 application. Known for The Harris Poll(R) and for pioneering Internet-based
 research methods, Harris Interactive conducts proprietary and public research
 to help its clients achieve clear, material and enduring results.
     Harris Interactive combines its intellectual capital, databases and
 technology to advance market leadership through U.S. offices and wholly owned
 subsidiaries: London-based HI Europe (http://www.hieurope.com), Paris-based
 Novatris (http://www.novatris.com), Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan,
 through newly acquired WirthlinWorldwide, a Reston, Virginia-based research
 and consultancy firm ranked 25th largest in the world, and through an
 independent global network of affiliate market research companies. EOE M/F/D/V
     To become a member of the Harris Poll Online(SM) and be invited to
 participate in future online surveys, visit http://www.harrispollonline.com.
 
      Contacts:
 
      Nancy Wong
      Harris Interactive
      585-214-7316
 
      Kelly Gullo
      Harris Interactive
      585-214-7172
 
      Harris Interactive, Inc. 2/05
 
 

SOURCE Harris Interactive

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