Americans Show Strong Support for Making Iraq Operation More Multilateral

Americans Show Strong Support for Making Iraq Operation More Multilateral

March 15, 2006

Full Report

A number of leading political analysts have discussed the option of making the Iraq operation more multilateral. A large bipartisan majority of Americans would support doing so even if this would require the US to relinquish some control over the operation, according to a new poll. While Americans are showing doubts about military forms of involvement in Iraq, there is strong support for non-military approaches.

The poll of 851 Americans was conducted by and fielded by Knowledge Networks March 1-6, 2006. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.4 – 4 percent.

Americans show substantial interest in a number of more multilateral approaches to the Iraq operation. Perhaps most significant, a substantial majority is ready to put the operation under UN command as part of a process of including troops from other countries. Asked, “If other countries would be willing to contribute more troops if the operation in Iraq were to be put under UN command, would you then favor or oppose putting the Iraq operation under UN command?” 72 percent said that they would favor it. Support is bipartisan, with 60 percent of Republicans as well as 86 percent of Democrats favoring it. Support is also up a bit from 2004, when 68 percent overall favored the idea.

There is also strong support for a multilateral approach to economic reconstruction. Asked “Would you prefer to have the US or the UN take the lead in Iraq’s economic reconstruction?” 77 percent said they would favor the UN, while just 22 percent said the US. This is also a bipartisan majority, with 58 percent of Republicans as well as 92 percent of Democrats favoring the UN.

An equally large majority favored a multilateral conference for addressing Iraq’s economic challenges. Asked, “Would you favor having a major conference where leaders from the US, Europe, the UN, and various Arab countries would meet with leaders of the new Iraqi government to coordinate efforts to help Iraq achieve greater stability and economic growth or do you think it is best for other countries to stay out of Iraq’s affairs?” 77 percent favored such a conference. Once again, this was a bipartisan majority with 81 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of Democrats favoring it.

As discussed elsewhere, Americans are showing doubts about military forms of involvement in Iraq. Support for non-military approaches to dealing with the challenges in Iraq, though, is very strong. Respondents were presented a list of five activities by which “the US has been involved in Iraq in non-military ways.” In every case, a large majority approved of the effort. However, in each case a substantial number had doubts about whether the US was doing a good job.


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