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Over Half of Americans Believe Iraq Better Off Now Than Before U.S. Invasion

September 14, 2010

NEW YORK, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ — As U.S. troops have now handed off military control to Iraqi forces, there is time for reflection on the Iraqi war. Over half of Americans (57%) believe that Iraq is better off today than it was before the U.S. invasion 7 years ago, with one in five (19%) saying Iraq is much better off and almost two in five (38%) saying somewhat better off. One in five U.S. adults (19%) say Iraq is worse off today, and one-quarter (24%) are not at all sure.

These are some of the results of BBC World News America/Harris Poll of 2,340 adults surveyed online between August 19 and 23, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

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                             Total
                               %
    Better off (NET)
                               57
         Much better off       19
         Somewhat better off   38
    Worse off (NET)            19
         Somewhat worse off    12
         Much worse off         7
    Not at all sure            24

Men are more likely than women to say Iraq is better off now (62% versus 51%) and women are more likely to take a “wait and see” approach, saying they are not sure (29% versus 18%). Older Americans are more likely to believe Iraq is better off now than it was before the invasion. Just half of those 18-34 years old (51%) say Iraq is better off today, compared to three in five of those 45-54 (59%) and 55 and older (61%) who say the same.

Although Iraq may be better off, was the war itself worth fighting? Half of Americans (49%) say the war was worth fighting, with 19% saying it was very much worth fighting and 29% saying it was somewhat worth fighting. Two in five Americans (38%) believe the war in Iraq was not at all worth fighting. There is a regional difference on fighting the war. Almost half of those in the Northeast (45%) say the war was not worth fighting while 43% say the opposite. In the South, over half (53%) say the war in Iraq was worth fighting while one-third (33%) say it was not.


                                      Total
                                        %
    Worth fighting (NET)               49
         Very much worth fighting      19
         Somewhat worth fighting       29
    Not at all worth fighting          38
    Not at all sure                    14

Are we safer?

Americans are divided on the issue of whether the war in Iraq made America more or less safe. Almost two in five (39%) say the war made America safer while just under that (35%) say the war in Iraq made us less safe and one-quarter (26%) are not at all sure.


                            Total
                              %
    Safer (NET)               39
         Much safer            9
         Somewhat safer       30
    Less safe (NET)           35
         Somewhat less safe   24
         Much less safe       12
    Not at all sure           26

There is definitely a gender gap on this issue, as well. Men are more likely to say the war made America safer (44% versus 34%) while women are more likely to say it made the country less safe (39% versus 31%). There is also a regional difference here. Almost half of Southerners (46%) say the war in Iraq made America safer while just one-third of Westerners (32%) say the same.

So what?

The history of the Iraq war is still being written and there is still a lot of uncertainty to how the events of the past seven years will be seen. Even as the combat stage of U.S. involvement is over, Americans are not sure what the war meant for both Iraq as well as the United States. The next generation of historians will be the ones to look back and see what the post-Iraq war world looked like.

                                  TABLE 1
                            IRAQ BETTER OR WORSE
    "In your opinion, to what degree is Iraq better or worse off today
             than it was before the U.S. invasion 7 years ago?"
    Base: All Adults
                             Total       Gender                  Age
                                    Male   Female  18-34 35-44  45-54   55+
                                %     %       %      %      %      %   %
    Better off (NET)             57    62       51    51     56     59  61
         Much better off         19    25       13    17     18     21  21
         Somewhat better off     38    37       38    34     37     38  41
    Worse off (NET)              19    20       19    18     19     23  19
         Somewhat worse off      12    12       12    14     13     13  10
         Much worse off           7     7        7     4      6     10   9
    Not at all sure              24    18       29    31     25     18  20

    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding

                                         TABLE 2
                               WAR IN IRAQ WORTH FIGHTING
          "Looking back, to what extent would you say that the war in Iraq was
                                    worth fighting?"
    Base: All Adults
                          Total                Region
                                  Northeast  Midwest  South   West
                            %         %         %        %      %
    Worth fighting
     (NET)                   49          43       49      53     46
         Very much worth
          fighting           19          15       17      23     20
         Somewhat worth
          fighting           29          28       32      30     26
    Not at all worth
     fighting                38          45       38      33     38
    Not at all sure          14          12       14      13     15


                                          Income
                            Less
                            than
                            $35K   $35K-$49.9K  $50K-$74.9K   $75K+
                             %          %             %         %
    Worth fighting
     (NET)                     43           54           53      51
         Very much worth
          fighting             13           22           25      22
         Somewhat worth
          fighting             29           32           29      29
    Not at all worth
     fighting                  41           36           36      39
    Not at all sure            16           10           10       9

    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

                                  TABLE 3
                          SAFETY IN AMERICA TODAY
    "Do you believe America is safer or less safe today as a result of
                       the U.S.'s invasion of Iraq?"
    Base: All Adults
                        Total       Gender                   Region
                               Male    Female  Northeast Midwest  South  West
                           %    %         %        %        %        %     %
    Safer (NET)             39    44        34        36      39      46    32
         Much safer          9    12         6         9       9      12     5
         Somewhat safer     30    32        28        27      30      34    27
    Less safe (NET)         35    31        39        38      36      31    38
         Somewhat less
          safe              24    20        27        26      23      21    25
         Much less safe     12    11        12        13      13      10    12
    Not at all sure         26    25        27        26      25      23    30
    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

Methodology

This BBC World News America/Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between August 19 and 23, 2010 among 2,340 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, 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 respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

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

The Harris Poll(®) #106, September 14, 2010

By Regina A. Corso, Director, The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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SOURCE Harris Interactive


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