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Poll: Nearly a third of Americans still believe Saddam personally involved in 9/11

Mike Sheehan
Published: Friday September 22, 2006

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A recent New York Times/CBS poll reveals among other things that nearly one-third of Americans still believe that former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the 9/11 terror attacks.

Last month, President Bush stated in a press conference that the former Iraqi dictator had "nothing" to do with the attacks. This was despite previous statements by Vice President Cheney, who said in 2003 that the administration was learning "more and more" about connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq before the Sept. 11 attacks. At the time, this surprised analysts and officials who had reviewed Iraq intelligence reports.

The White House has a webpage which credits some of the confusion to former CIA Director George Tenet, to whom Bush awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004.

The lengthy Times/CBS survey of just over a thousand Americans featured over 80 questions covering a wide variety of political topics.

Some of the highlights of the poll, available in a PDF file here, follow.

  • When asked if they approve or disapprove of the way the President is doing his job, 56 percent disapproved while 37 percent approved.
  • When asked the same about the way Congress is doing its job, dissatisfaction was higher: 61 percent disapproved while 25 percent approved.
  • 60 percent said things are worse today than five years ago, while only 18 percent said things were better. 19 percent said things were roughly the same.
  • One question asked of respondents was what they think is the most important problem facing the country today. Given numerous choices, 14 percent chose the war and 14 percent terrorism in general; 7 percent chose the economy; 4 percent chose immigration; 3 percent, health care; 2 the percent, environment; while education and religious values rated only 1 percent of the respondents. The highest percentage, 20 percent, was for "other."
  • As for the November elections, 96 percent said they would definitely or probably vote, while only 3 percent said they would probably or definitely not vote.
  • The expectation for November among the respondents was that 54 percent believe Democrats would win more seats, while 32 percent felt the Republicans would have the upper hand.
  • Incumbents, however, did not fare well. 77 percent of the respondents felt it is time to "give new people a chance," while only 12 percent supported Congress' re-election.
  • 42 percent felt Democrats were more likely to make the right decision about the Iraq war than Republicans (37 percent), while respondents tipped better decision-making regarding terrorism to the GOP (42 percent vs. 37 percent for Democrats).
  • Torture, which has been prominently featured in recent news, is never justified in the opinion of 56 percent of those polled, while 35 percent said it was sometimes justified, and 5 percent stated "it depends."
  • 59 percent felt the President is mostly telling the truth but hiding something about how things are going for the US in Iraq, while 12 percent felt he is telling the entire truth. 25 percent felt he is mostly lying.
  • Of those polled, income ranges appeared to be evenly distributed; women (52 percent) slightly outnumbered men (48 percent); identified political affiliation was divided almost equally among Republicans (30 percent), Democrats (32 percent) and independents (32 percent), while political philosophy favored moderates (43 percent) over conservatives (35 percent) and liberals (17 percent).

    When asked if they thought of themselves as "evangelical or born again Christians," nearly one-third of respondents agreed, while 68 percent said "no."




     
     
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