Public approval of the war in Iraq has fluctuated ever since the initial stages two years ago, but has been noticeably declining over the past year, with about half of the polled population supporting the war and half opposing the war, according to Gallup polls.
The poll has been conducted 36 times from January 2003 to February 2005, and asked those surveyed: “All in all, do you think it was worth going to war in Iraq, or not?”
While the choice signifying that it was worth going to war has been the most popular response in 27 of the 36 polls, the margin has become significantly reduced in size. The polls first illustrated an almost equal opinion on the war at the beginning of 2004.
In April 2003, the fourth time the poll was conducted, 76 percent of those polled said they thought it was worth going to war. The difference has been no greater than 56 percent in favor to 41 percent opposed in the past year, meaning the country has been evenly divided over this issue within the past year.
“We can see that in January 2004, support (for the war) was fairly high,” said Henry Lopez, CSUN political science professor. “Perhaps it has to do with the formation of democracy from an authoritative government (in Iraq).”
“Afterwards, about a year (after the war started), it just seemed like people were dying for no reason,” said Nishit Kapadia, electrical engineering graduate student.
Kapadia said he was neutral about the war at first, even though he felt at the time that the United States may have jumped the gun out of impatience.
“In hindsight, it seems like it was OK because of the spread of democracy,” Kapadia said.
Others do not see it that way.
“I don’t understand how Bush is getting away with it,” said Stacy Hecht, freshman liberal studies major. “Bush lied. He lied to the American people, and he’s sending people’s sons and daughters (into war). We rushed into it, when it should’ve been the last resort. We should’ve had another plan.”
Mike Oganyan, senior business management major, expressed a similar opinion.
“I don’t think it’s right,” Oganyan said. “We had no reason to go over there. There are more important things to take care of. They talk about the deficit, and then they start spending money on the war. It’s not like they were a threat to us over there (in Iraq). I know Iraq was a hostile environment, but it was none of our business. The reason behind this is oil. There’s no other reason.”
A similar Gallup poll that ran from March 2003 to February 2005, asked: “In view of the developments since we first sent our troops to Iraq, do you think the United States made a mistake in sending troops to Iraq, or not?”
The results were similar to those of the “was it worth it?” poll. The first “was it a mistake” poll had a 75 percent to 23 percent result, with the 75 percent saying it was not a mistake to invade Iraq.
This is the most slanted the poll results ever were.
In the latest poll, conducted in late February 2005, the result had 51 percent saying the war was not a mistake, and 47 percent saying it was a mistake.
Gallup polls are conducted via telephone interviews with 1,000 to 1,500 people living in the continental United States. Samples are chosen randomly by computer.
The polls have a plus or minus three margin of error, close enough for the results to be considered statistically reliable by sociological standards.