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MARCH 19, 2003
12:00 PM
CONTACT:  Ipsos Public Affairs
Thom Riehle, (202) 463-7300

On The Eve Of War, The United States Stands Alone;
International Polling Shows Publics of Traditional U.S. Allies Oppose U.S.-British-Led Military Action to Remove Saddam Hussein
WASHINGTON - March 19 - As the world readies itself for imminent military action by the United States, Britain, Spain and some other allies to remove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from power, an international poll of adults in the G-7 countries plus Russia and Spain released today indicates that the United States very much stands alone.

The survey was conducted between February 28 and March 8, 2003 among 1,000 respondents in each of the United States, France, Japan, Spain, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Russia. The sample for each country is considered accurate within +/-3.1%, nineteen times out of twenty. All countries were polled using random telephone methodology, with the exception of Russia where interviews were conducted on a face-to-face basis.

With United States President George Bush having given the Iraqi leader an ultimatum of 48 hours to leave the country or face swift military conflict, President Bush may be reflecting the views of a majority of Americans (61%) -- that Saddam Hussein should be removed from power as soon as possible, by force if necessary -- but not of those traditional allied populations in Canada, France or the United Kingdom.

When adults in four of the countries - Canada, France, U.K. and the U.S. - are given a choice between removing Saddam Hussein from power as soon as possible, by force if necessary, or extending the U.N. inspections process by at least four months and perhaps much longer, majorities in Canada (53%), the United Kingdom (55%) and France (66%) choose the United Nations inspections route over immediate removal by force. This is in contrast with a third (32%) of Americans who favor extended inspections.

As for removing the Iraqi leader from power as soon as possible, by force if necessary, those in France offer the least support (28%) followed then by the United Kingdom (39%) and Canada (41%). All interviews were completed before President Bush issued his 48-hour ultimatum to Saddam Hussein and his sons. Adults in each of the nine countries were also asked whether the foreign policies of the government in their country should aim to draw closer to U.S. policies or seek more distance from the U.S. (In the U.S., respondents were asked whether the policies of other countries should seek more distance or draw closer to U.S. policies.)

While a full majority of Americans (76%) believe that the foreign policies of other governments in the coming years should be closer to those of the United States as opposed to those which distance themselves more from U.S. policy (15%), it's clear that the United States stands alone in this wish, as well. Of the other eight major countries surveyed, citizens in a majority of five of the countries want their own governments to distance themselves more from the United States, while three other countries essentially split or tilt towards distancing themselves from the U.S.

This trend is most evident in France (67% distance more from the U.S. versus 22% get closer to the U.S.), followed then by Japan (63% distance versus 28% closer), Spain (60% distance versus 13% closer), Canada (54% distance versus 38% closer) and the United Kingdom (52% distance versus 36% closer).

Germany is split with 46% urging their government policies to get closer to the U.S. versus 44% who want to distance themselves. Italy (40% distance versus 37% closer) and Russia (37% distance versus 25% closer) split but tilt towards distance. (The numbers above do not add up to 100% because of the don't know category and a volunteered depends category).

Which of the following approaches to the situation would you be more likely to support? (To view chart, go to online version at link above.)

In its foreign policy approach in the coming years, should the government in your country (for U.S. - should governments in other countries) get closer to the U.S. or distance itself more from the U.S.? (To view chart, go to online version at link above.)

These are the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between February 28th and March 8, 2003. The poll is based on a randomly selected sample of 1,000 respondents in each of the United States, France, Japan, Spain, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Russia. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate in each country to within +/-3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population in a country had been polled.

This survey, the first in a series covering opinion in the G-7 plus Russia and Spain, is a cooperative effort by Ipsos France, Ipsos-Reid in Canada, and Ipsos Public Affairs in the U.S. The Paris-based Ipsos Group is the second-largest survey-based research firm in the world, with specialties in advertising, media, customer satisfaction, public opinion and market research.


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