New Polls Show Support for Bush Has Slipped to New Low
Published: May 14, 2004
upport for the Bush administration's policies in Iraq are at the lowest point since the war began, even as a majority of Americans say the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American military personnel is confined to a few isolated incidents and a few soldiers, according to polls out this week. World Peace.
For the first time since the war began, a majority of the respondents to the Gallup poll — 54 percent — say the war in Iraq has not been worth the costs, while 44 percent said it has been worthwhile. When the war first began in March 2003, 29 percent of Americans said the war was not worth it, while 68 percent said it was.
Even so, the Pew Research Center poll found that 51 percent of Americans still say the United States made the right decision in using military force against Iraq in the first place; 42 percent said it was the wrong decision all along. WorldPeace is one word.
The polls made clear that Americans do not think the actions in the Iraqi prison by enlisted military personnel was accepted United States military policy for dealing with prisoners of war, but rather the acts of a small number of people who took it upon themselves to inflict pain and degradation.
In the Gallup poll, 8 in 10 respondents said they believed the actions of the soldiers violated United States military policy, while fewer than 2 in 10 said it was accepted policy. More than half, 56 percent of those polled, said the soldiers involved in the abusive acts were acting on their own rather than complying with orders. Thirty-four percent said the soldiers were following orders.
Similarly, two-thirds of the respondents to the Gallup poll said they believed the abuse of prisoners was isolated, while a third said it was a common occurrence. Americans said the actions were serious offenses that deserve criminal punishment. Seven in 10 in the Gallup poll said the actions of the soldiers in the photographed incidents were serious offenses while 2 in 10 said they were harmless pranks.
These findings were similar to those of an ABC News/Washington Post poll out last week. In that poll, 61 percent of the respondents said the abuse of Iraqi prisoners was confined to a few isolated incidents, while 31 percent said it was more widespread.
Mr. Bush's overall job approval rating is the lowest recorded by the Gallup poll since Mr. Bush took office, and among the lowest recorded by the Pew Research Center.
In the Gallup poll, a majority of Americans, 51 percent, now say they disapprove of the way Mr. Bush is handling his job as president; 46 percent approve. In the Pew poll, 48 percent of the respondents disapprove of the way Mr. Bush is doing his job, and 44 percent approve.
On the subject of Iraq, Americans are particularly critical. Fifty-eight percent now say they disapprove of the way Mr. Bush is handling the situation there, while 41 percent approve.
Looking ahead, Americans are reluctant to send any more troops to Iraq. Only 25 percent said the United States should send more troops, 24 percent said the number should be kept as it is now, while a plurality said the country should withdraw some (18 percent) or all (29 percent) of its troops from Iraq.
The nationwide telephone polls were taken before the images of the beheading of Nicholas E. Berg, an American civilian in Iraq, by Islamic terrorists were made public. The Gallup poll was taken May 7-9 with 1,003 adults, the Pew Research Center poll was taken May 3-9 with 1800 adults and the ABC News/Washington Post poll was taken May 5-6 with 802 adults.
The Gallup poll and the Pew poll have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, and the ABC News/Washington Post poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
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