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Poll: Most Americans back using ground troops in war

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Nearly two-thirds of Americans favor use of U.S. ground troops to carry out President Bush's war on terrorism in Afghanistan, according to a poll released Friday by CNN/Time.

And while more than 75 percent predict a U.S. victory, most of those polled forecast a long war with many casualties -- and the possibility of further terrorist attacks in the United States.

The poll, conducted September 27, covered interviews with 1,055 adult Americans, including 862 registered voters.

The respondents gave a resounding no to the idea of the Rev. Jesse Jackson traveling to Afghanistan to meet with Taliban leaders. And they said they believed the United States could count on such countries as Great Britain, Russia and other European nations but were less likely to believe Asian and Middle Eastern nations would stick with the U.S. coalition.

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Those polled showed overwhelming support for Bush's response to the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, although 17 percent said the president should have a stronger response. Eighty-four percent approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president overall.

But Republican congressional candidates weren't catching a ride on Bush's coattails. Registered voters taking part in the poll preferred Democrats in the upcoming election by a 46 percent to 42 percent margin.

Pollsters also covered some questions about the daily life of Americans in the wake of the attacks, with 60 percent indicating life had returned to normal.

More Americans now said that the country is faring well than thought so two days after the attacks. But at 59 percent, that number was well below the 70 percent who responded positively in July. Almost the same number -- 58 percent -- said they thought the country was "in deep and serious trouble."

Despite a slumping economy and shaky markets on Wall Street, the poll indicated that Americans worried more about terrorism -- 56 percent -- than the economy -- 33 percent. More than three-quarters said they expected the country would at least experience car bombs in the next 12 months.

Respondents favored allowing pilots to carry guns aboard commercial airliners by a nearly 2-1 margin and favored federal control of airport security by nearly 4-1.

While respondents marginally favored such anti-terrorist measures as mandatory federal identification cards and allowing the government to intercept e-mail, most said they opposed any type of detention camps for Arab-Americans. The respondents also opposed random searches by police.


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