87% of U.S. see Iraq war likely

By Jon Dougherty

Though Iraq has agreed in principle to unconditionally accept new United Nations-mandated weapons inspections, the vast majority of Americans still believe war with Baghdad is inevitable.

Eight-seven percent of those responding to a new survey say they believe war is “likely,” while more than half – 51 percent – say war is “very likely,” according to veteran pollster Scott Rasmussen.

However, Rasmussen said, just under one-third of respondents, or 30 percent, believe President Saddam Hussein will be deposed in a year’s time.

Along party lines, Democrats are more skeptical about removing Saddam from power than Republicans or unaffiliated voters. Fifty-two percent of Democrats believe he will still be in charge in Iraq in a year, while only 21 percent think the Bush administration will succeed in toppling the dictator.

Among Republicans, Rasmussen said, 44 percent think Saddam will be deposed, while just 28 percent think he’ll avoid it.

Thirty-nine percent of unaffiliated voters, meanwhile, think Hussein’s regime will survive, while 26 percent disagree and 35 percent are not sure.

The poll surveyed 500 adults Nov. 13 and has a margin of error of 4.5 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence.

According to the poll, Americans are split as to how to proceed against Iraq if U.S. allies won’t support military action.

“Given a choice, 44 percent say removing Hussein is more important than working in cooperation with our allies,” while “46 percent say cooperation is more important,” said the poll.

In other results:

  • Sixty-one percent of Americans agree with President Bush that the U.S. must remove Saddam Hussein from power, while 23 percent disagree.

  • Forty-four percent of those surveyed favor the use of American ground forces to accomplish the task of deposing Saddam, while 37 percent are opposed.

  • The U.N. Security Council vote to demand Iraq allow more weapons inspections had no impact on the poll, Rasmussen said. “The survey included data from two days before and two days after the council voted unanimously to pass a U.S. resolution on Iraq. There is no significant difference between the data collected before and after the vote,” said the survey.

  • Most men support sending in ground troops while most women oppose it.

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