Poll: Americans Conflicted About Iraq War

It's worth noting that, for most Americans, finding WMDs was never a prerequisite for war. In a prewar ABC/Post poll, 20 percent said the war could be justified only if such weapons were found; 63 percent said it could be justified even if not. (The rest, 14 percent, said it couldn't be justified in either case.)

Similarly, six in 10 Americans also continue to think that before the war Iraq provided direct support to the al Qaeda terrorist group. But nearly four in 10 say this is their "suspicion only;" just two in 10 believe there's been any solid evidence of it. And again, there's no evidence that any alleged al Qaeda link formed the basis of public support for the war, since most Americans favored overthrowing Saddam years earlier, long before al Qaeda became broadly known.

Groups

As long has been the case, there are huge partisan and ideological divisions in views on Iraq. Most fundamentally, 81 percent of Republicans say the war was worth fighting, as do 69 percent of conservatives; that falls to about four in 10 independents and moderates, and about two in 10 Democrats and liberals.


Was the War Worth Fighting?
Yes No
All 45% 53
Democrats 18 80
Independents 43 55
Republicans 81 18
Liberals 20 79
Moderates 39 58
Conservatives 69 30

There also are gender, racial and regional differences: Among men, who tend to be more supportive of military action, 51 percent say the war was worth fighting; that falls to 40 percent of women. While 50 percent of whites say the war was worth fighting, just 29 percent of nonwhite Americans agree. And in the so-called "red" states that Bush won in the 2004 election, 51 percent call the war worth fighting -- barely a majority, but more than the 39 percent who say so in the Kerry "blue" states.

Methodology

This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone March 10-13, 2005, among a random national sample of 1,001 adults. The results have a three-point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation was done by TNS of Horsham, Pa.

Click here for PDF version with full questionnaire and results.

You can find more ABC News polls in our Poll Vault.

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