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Sizeable Minorities Still Believe Saddam Hussein Had Strong Links to Al Qaeda, Helped Plan 9/11 and Had Weapons of Mass Destruction

Harris Interactive Inc.

The Harris Poll« #95, December 29, 2005

Sizeable Minorities Still Believe Saddam Hussein Had Strong Links to Al Qaeda, Helped Plan 9/11 and Had Weapons of Mass Destruction

However, the numbers have fallen substantially this year

More than four years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, many U.S. adults still believe some of the justifications for the invasion of Iraq, which have now been discredited, according to a new Harris Poll. For example:

  • Forty-one percent (41%) of U.S. adults believe that Saddam Hussein had "strong links to Al Qaeda."
  • Twenty-two percent (22%) of adults believe that Saddam Hussein "helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the United States on September 11."
  • Twenty-six percent (26%) of adults believe that Iraq "had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded."
  • Twenty-four percent (24%) of all adults believe that "several of the hijackers who attacked the United States on September 11 were Iraqis."

However, all of these beliefs and others have declined sharply since the questions were asked in February 2005. For example:

  • Those who think Saddam Hussein had strong links to Al Qaeda have fallen from 64 to 41 percent.
  • Those who believe that Iraq was a serious threat to U.S. security are down from 61 to 48 percent.
  • Those who think Saddam Hussein helped plan 9/11 are down from 47 to 22 percent.
  • Those who think Iraq had weapons of mass destruction are down from 36 to 26 percent.
  • Those who think Iraqi hijackers attacked the United States on 9/11 have fallen from 44 to 24 percent.

Although public support for the war in Iraq has been waning, a 56 percent majority of all adults believe that "the Iraqis are better off now than they were under Saddam Hussein." However, this has also fallen from 76 percent since February.

These are the results of a nationwide Harris Poll of 1,961 U.S. adults surveyed online between December 8 and 14, 2005 by Harris Interactive«.

These new poll findings and trends show how slowly most people change their minds once they believe something to be true. Nevertheless, they also show that, over time, beliefs can change greatly.

TABLE 1

WHAT THE PUBLIC BELIEVES TO BE TRUE

"Do you believe that the following statements are true or not true?"

Percent saying "true"

Base: All Adults

 

October 2004

February 2005

December 2005

 

%

%

%

The Iraqis are better off now than they were under Saddam Hussein.

76

76

56

Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, was a serious threat to U.S. security.

63

61

48

Saddam Hussein had strong links with Al Qaeda.

62

64

41

Saddam Hussein helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001.

41

47

22

Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded.

38

36

26

Several of the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on September 11 were Iraqis.

37

44

24

TABLE 2

WHAT THE PUBLIC BELIEVES TO BE TRUE AND NOT TRUE

"Do you believe that the following statements are true or not true?"

Base: All Adults

   

True

Not True

Not Sure

Decline To Answer

The Iraqis are better off now than they were under Saddam Hussein

%

56

16

25

3

Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, was a serious threat to U.S.

%

48

35

15

2

Saddam Hussein had strong links with Al Qaeda

%

41

33

24

2

Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.s. invaded

%

26

50

22

2

Several of the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on Sept. 11 were Iraqis

%

24

42

31

3

Saddam Hussein helped plan and support the hijackers who attacked the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001

%

22

46

30

2

Methodology

The Harris Poll« was conducted online within the United States between December 8 and 14, 2005 among 1,961 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondentsĺ propensity to be online.

In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95 percent certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult population had been polled with complete accuracy. Unfortunately, there are several other possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals to be interviewed (nonresponse), question wording and question order, and weighting. It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result from these factors. This online sample was not a probability sample.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

J W26225

Q 646



ę2005, Harris Interactive Inc. All rights reserved.


:: Article nr. 19098 sent on 30-dec-2005 04:44 ECT

www.uruknet.info?p=19098

Link: www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=623



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