Poll: Too Many U.S. Casualties in Iraq

It's worth noting that independents — the ultimate swing group in political support — are more closely aligned with Democrats than with Republicans in their views on the level of casualties in Iraq and on the notion of striking Iran.

There's also a striking difference between men and women in their view of the level of casualties. While 60 percent of men call it acceptable, just 42 percent of women agree. Democratic women are 11 points less likely than Democratic men to call the level of casualties acceptable, and there's a similar gap between Republican men and women.

And there are differences by age: Acceptance of casualties is highest among younger adults, and lowest among the oldest. Older Americans also are substantially less apt than others to say the United States can justify the war without finding weapons of mass destruction (but 52 percent do hold that view.)

Many of these divisions also show up in overall approval of Bush's job performance. It's huge — 95 percent — among Republicans, and less than half that — 42 percent — among Democrats. (A third of Democrats disapprove "strongly" of Bush.) His approval rating is much lower among nonwhites than among whites. And it's lower among older Americans — a possible impetus for his push for expanded prescription drug benefits for the elderly.

Finally, this poll included a knowledge question asking respondents whether, based on what they know or have heard, they believe Iraq used biological or chemical weapons against U.S. troops during the war earlier this year; 24 percent said yes. That could reflect any number of factors — erroneous information, bad guesses, an inclination to expect the worst from Iraq, and others. But probably more than anything, it underscores the limitations of opinion polls as a tool to measure knowledge.

Methodology

This ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone June 18-22 among a random national sample of 1,024 adults. The results have a three-point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation were done by TNS Intersearch of Horsham, Pa.

Previous ABCNEWS polls can be found in our Poll Vault.

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