The American public overwhelmingly supports the U.S. military action in Iraq, accepts President Clinton's explanation that the attack needed to take place now, and would, at least in principle, even continue the attack until Saddam Hussein is removed from power, according to the latest CBS News poll.
IT'S WORTH THE COST
By 62 percent to 25 percent, the public thinks this military action is worth the potential loss of American life and other costs.
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By more than two to one, Americans say the U.S. should continue air strikes until Saddam Hussein is removed from power, not just until he cooperates with United Nations weapons inspectors.
TIMING OF THE ATTACKS
|U.S. Air Strikes Against Iraq|
Most Americans accept the President's explanations abut the air strikes. Seventy-five percent say he has explained the situation well enough so that they understand why the U.S. launched air strikes against Iraq.
THE IMPEACHMENT DEBATE
|Continue Strikes Until Saddam Hussein . . .|
Those who want President Clinton impeached are evenly divided on whether the debate should be delayed during this military situation. Those who oppose impeachment overwhelmingly favor postponement of debate.
However, opinions about impeachment don't matter when it comes to support for the U.S. air strikes. Large majorities of both impeachment supporters and opponents favor air strikes, think the President has explained his reasons for ordering them sufficiently, and favor continuation of the strikes until Saddam Hussein is removed from power. In fact, there are few partisan differences on any of these questions, with Democrats and Republicans about equally supportive.
|Hussein's Timing Have Anything To Do With Impeachment?|
Despite the air strikes on Iraq, little has changed overall in one night when it comes to public opinion about how the president is doing his overall job and whether or not he should continue in office. Now, 67 percent approve of the way Mr. Clinton is handling his job overall, and 63 percent say they want their representative in Congress to vote against impeachment. Those percentages are essentially unchanged since earlier in the week. In fact, they have changed little all year long.
This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 413 adults interviewed by telephone December 16, 1998. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus five percentage points for results based on the entire sample.