The Harris Poll® #14, February 18, 2005
Iraq, 9/11, Al Qaeda and Weapons of Mass Destruction:
What the Public Believes Now, According to Latest Harris Poll
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® 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.