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Monday | October 07, 2002

Nation reluctant to rush to war

On the eve of Bush's Iraq speech to the country, a new CBS News/NYT poll finds the American public hesitant to starta a war against Iraq. Amongst the polls findings:

  • By a 2-to-1 margin, they said they would prefer to see U.N. weapons inspectors have more time to do their work before military action is taken.

  • Two-thirds said they approve of military action to remove Saddam Hussein as leader of Iraq, but a large majority 70 percent want the Bush administration to get approval from Congress. Sixty-five percent think it would be better to wait for allies before acting against Iraq.

  • 51 percent think that Congress is not asking enough questions about Iraq policy, while one in five said it is asking too many. Last month, 44 percent said Congress was not asking enough questions.

  • Despite concerns about the possible war, seven in 10 would prefer to hear political candidates talk about the economy over war with Iraq.

  • More than half, 57 percent, said they would base their vote for a candidate on economic policy before foreign policy.

  • Four in 10, 41 percent, said they approve of President Bush's handling of the economy, while 46 percent disapproved. His overall job approval was at 63 percent.

  • More than half said they consider the economy fairly bad, 42 percent, or very bad, 14 percent. Almost two-thirds said Bush should be spending more time on the economy, while a third said he's spending as much time as he can.
This last bullet point should be particularly worrisome to Bush/Rove, as it indicates that history (in the form of poppy's reign) is about to repeat itself.
On a number of measures, the poll suggested that politicians in Washington were out of step with the concern of Americans. Again and again, in questions and in follow-up interviews, respondents talked more about the economy than Baghdad and expressed concern that leaders in Washington were not paying enough attention to the issues that mattered to them.

"There is no balance right now between finding solutions to our domestic problems and our foreign affairs," said Michael Chen, 30, an independent who works as a sales manager in Beaverton, Ore. "No one is talking about how to solve the economic downfall."

Geoff Crooks, 44, an independent who lives in Lincoln, Neb., said: "We are paying way too much attention to Iraq."

"Meanwhile, the stock market has fallen 25 percent and tons of people are unemployed including myself," said Mr. Crooks, who had worked as a travel consultant.

Public support for an Iraq war will undoubtedly rise after Bush's 20-minute speech tonight. The speech will be a rehash of his current stump speech -- you know the one, Saddam's a "cold-blooded killer", WMD, etc, yet will offer no hard evidence of the alleged Iraq threat.

So, while Al Queda runs around -- an enemy we know has the means and desire to strike US interests around the world and on US soil -- Bush ignores the Bin Laden threat and focuses instead on a country that has been contained and rendered impotent for the past decade.

But, as the poll above suggests, people know Bush's war won't put food on our tables. It won't create jobs, or give the stock market a boost. It won't protect workers' 401(k)s, or pull the nation out of its Dubya recession. Thus, Bush focuses on Iraq to his and his party's peril.

Posted October 07, 2002 08:03 AM | Comments (1)





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