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Poll: Capture boosts Americans' confidence


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(CNN) -- The capture of Saddam Hussein boosted confidence among Americans polled Sunday, most of whom agreed the Iraqi war was worth fighting and the search for weapons of mass destruction would be successful.

The respondents also were confident that Iraq would establish a stable government and that the United States would find al Qaeda terror leader Osama bin Laden.

Of those polled, 62 percent agreed it was worth going to war. The previous high was 63 percent on August 25-26. The percent in favor was at its lowest in January -- 53 percent -- before the fighting began.

More than half of those polled -- 54 percent -- said they were very confident or somewhat confident that the elusive chemical and biological weapons would be found.

The allegation that Saddam's regime was harboring such unconventional weapons in violation of U.N. resolutions was President Bush's principal rationale for going to war.

The level of confidence was the highest since March 29-30 -- 84 percent -- about 10 days after the start of the war. Bush argued the U.S.-led incursion was necessary to disarm Iraq.

The poll by CNN, USA Today and Gallup was done by telephone with 664 Americans older than 18.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they were very or somewhat confident that bin Laden, believed to be hiding in the mountainous area at the border between Afghanistan and northeast Pakistan, would be captured.

Other responses were:

• 67 percent were very or somewhat confident that Iraq would become a democracy, somewhat fewer than the 75 percent in late March.

• 60 percent were very or somewhat confident the attacks by insurgents in Iraq would be stopped.

• 45 percent said they were planning to vote to re-elect Bush next year, even before the capture, while 43 said they hadn't planned to vote for him, and still won't.

• An overwhelming majority -- 82 percent -- believed Saddam's capture was a "major achievement."

• 48 percent of those polled believe Saddam should be tried in an international court, versus an Iraqi or U.S. military court.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.


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