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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

Poll: U.S. public endorses Clinton's actions on Iraq

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics) -- The American public has delivered strong support for President Bill Clinton's decision to attack Iraq in the face of Republican claims he was attempting to divert attention from impeachment proceedings against him.

About three in four Americans support the assault launched on Iraq, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll taken Wednesday night.

And only three out of ten people believe Clinton ordered the attack to divert attention from impeachment proceedings against him. Scheduled for Thursday, the proceedings have been delayed because of the Iraq crisis.

A further 76 per cent expressed a "great deal" or "moderate amount" of confidence in Clinton's ability to handle the situation in Iraq.

In a poll of 543 adults conducted after the White House announced the start of the missile attack, 74 percent said they approved of Clinton's order to launch the offensive. Thirteen percent disapproved.

And in a sign of support for Clinton despite the impeachment proceedings, the number of people who believe he uses military strikes as a tactic of distraction is on the wane.

Sixty-two percent of those polled Wednesday night said they believed there was no ulterior motive intended by the president.

On August 20, a similar question was asked when the U.S. attacked Afghanistan and Sudan at the height of the Lewinsky controversy. At that time 58 percent of those polled said it was in the best interests of the nation.

The poll has a 5 percent margin of error.

CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll

December 16, 1998

Interviews with 543 adult Americans conducted between 5:30 pm and 9 p.m. on December 16, 1998. All interviews were conducted after the White House announced that the attack on Iraq had been launched.

As you may know, the United Nations chief weapons inspector has reported that Iraq has not complied with its agreement to allow United Nations inspections of possible weapons facilities. In response, the United States and Britain have launched an air attack against Iraq this evening. Do you approve or disapprove of this attack?

Approve      74%
Disapprove   13 

How much confidence do you have in President Clinton's ability to handle the situation in Iraq -- a great deal, a moderate amount, only a little, or none at all.

Great deal        52%
Moderate amount   24
Only a little     10
None              12

Why do you, personally, think Bill Clinton ordered today's military strike -- solely because he felt it was in the best interests of the country or in part to divert public attention away from the impeachment proceedings?

Yes       30%
No        62

Do you think this attack will or will or will not achieve significant goals for the United States?

Yes       48%
No        32

Sampling error: +/-5%.

Was Saddam Hussein trying to take advantage of the political turmoil in the U.S.?


View Results


Clinton says attack on Iraq averted potential Iraqi aggression (12-17-98) Real: 28K | 56K, Windows Media: 28K | 56K

For Clinton, a long day of political juggling (12-17-98) Real: 28K | 56K, Windows Media: 28K | 56K

Larry King Live highlight: Vice President Al Gore on the military air strike on Iraq (12-17-98) Real: 28K | 56K, Windows Media: 28K | 56K

Clinton statement on attack against Iraq (12-16-98) Windows Media: 28K | 56K


Clinton defends U.S. attack on Iraq (12-17-98)

President Clinton explains Iraq strike (12-16-98)


U.S. public endorses Clinton's actions on Iraq (12-17-98)


Blasts over Baghdad during second night of attack (12-17-98)

U.S. boosts Gulf strength (12-17-98)

World reaction mixed; Russia, China harshly criticize U.S. (12-17-98)

House passes resolution in support of U.S. troops (12-17-98)

Impeachment and Iraq fill the president's time (12-17-98)

In-depth: Strike on Iraq


Your opinion: Iraq vs. the U.N.


Thursday, December 17, 1998

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