PIPA - Americans Continue to Believe Iraq Supported Al Qaeda and Had WMD: The University of Maryland conducted a poll in March 2004. 57% of Americans "continue to believe that before the war Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, including 20% who believe that Iraq was directly involved in the September 11 attacks. 45% believe that evidence that Iraq was supporting al Qaeda has been found. 60% believe that just before the war Iraq either had weapons of mass destruction (38%) or a major program for developing them (22%).
Despite statements by Richard Clarke, David Kay, Hans Blix and others, few Americans perceive most experts as saying the contrary. Only 15% said they are hearing “experts mostly agree Iraq was not providing substantial support to al Qaeda,” while 82% either said that “experts mostly agree Iraq was providing substantial support” (47%) or “experts are evenly divided on the question” (35%). Only 34% said they thought most experts believe Iraq did not have WMD, while 65% said most experts say Iraq did have them (30%) or that experts are divided on the question (35%).
Not surprisingly, perceptions of what experts are saying are highly correlated with beliefs about prewar Iraq, which in turn are highly correlated with support for the decision to go to war.
Perhaps most relevant politically, perceptions of what the experts are saying are also highly correlated with intentions to vote for the President in the upcoming election. Among those who perceived experts as saying that Iraq had WMD, 72% said they would vote for Bush and 23% said they would vote for Kerry, while among those who perceived experts as saying that Iraq did not have WMD, 23% said they would vote for Bush and 74% for Kerry.
Among those who perceived experts as saying that Iraq had supported al Qaeda, 62% said they would vote for Bush and 36% said they would vote for Kerry. Among those who perceived experts as saying that Iraq was not supporting al Qaeda, just 13% said they would vote for Bush and 85% for Kerry. ..
Despite polling showing that the majority of world public opinion is opposed to the US war with Iraq, only 41% were aware that this is the case. A 59% majority was unaware of this, with 21% saying that a majority of world public opinion favored the US having gone to war, and 38% saying “views are evenly balanced.”
Among those who knew that world public opinion opposed the US going to war with Iraq, only 25% thought that going to war was the right decision. Among the group that thought world public opinion was about evenly balanced, 70% said going to war was the right decision, and among those who perceived world public opinion as favoring the war, 88% said going to war the right decision. ..
Perceptions of world public opinion are also related to voting intentions. Among those who are aware that world public opinion is critical of the war, only 22% said they intended to vote for President Bush’s reelection (Kerry: 75%). Among those who thought world public opinion was about evenly balanced, Bush received support from a modest majority--53%, with 40% preferring Kerry. In the group that perceived world public opinion as favoring the war, 71% said they intended to vote for the president and only 25% said they would vote for Kerry." 12:17:23 PM