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Australians Approve U.S. Taking Action Against Saddam Hussein but Divided Over Australia's Part

In the first Australia-wide poll since war began in Iraq, slightly more Australian electors disapprove (48.5%) than approve (46.5%) Australia being part of an American military force to depose Saddam Hussein. Five percent of Australian electors are undecided.

However a majority of Australian electors (51.5%) approve of the US using military force to depose Saddam Hussein, 41% disapprove and 7.5% remain undecided, a special Morgan Poll finds.

Australian opinion on the US and Australia participating in the present War in Iraq is significantly lower than recorded three weeks into the 1991 Gulf War (then 70% approved of Australians being part of the military force; 75% approved of American military force).

These are the main findings of the latest Morgan Poll which was conducted by telephone among 1,067 electors throughout Australia last night and Wednesday night (March 19, 20 2003).

Gary Morgan says:

"Analysis by voting intention shows polarisation of views since late last year, with Coalition and One Nation supporters now more strongly in favour of the American military force in Iraq and Australians taking part, while there is now greater opposition amongst Labor, Green, Democrat and Other Party supporters."

For further information:

Gary Morgan      Office: (03) 9224 5213       Mobile: (0411) 129 094       Home: (03) 9419 3242

1. The use of American military force in Iraq

On March 19 & 20, 2003, respondents were first asked: "Next, about the use of an American military force against Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein. Do you approve or disapprove of the use of an American military force against Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein?"

The table below compares results from March 2003 with results from December 2002, when UN weapons inspectors entered Iraq, and September 2002, when the US first singled out Iraq as a threat to US security. Also included are responses to a similar question that was asked before and during the 1991 Gulf War. The question that was asked in December 1990 and February 1991 was: “ Next about the use of an American-led military force to make Iraq leave Kuwait. Do you approve or disapprove of the use of military force to make Iraq leave Kuwait?”

In March 2003, 51.5% of Australian electors approve of the use of American military force to depose Suddeim Hussein, while 41% disapprove and 7.5% are undecided. The majority of those who disapprove of America using military force against Iraq to depose Suddam Hussein disapprove strongly (29.5% disapprove strongly compared with 11.5% who mildly disapprove). Of those who approve of America using military force in Iraq, 25% strongly approve while 26.5% mildly approve.

Table 1. Comparison between 1990, 1991, September 2002, December 2002 and March 2003 Polls

The use of
American Military Force In Iraq
Total Total  
Dec '90 Feb '91
Before During Total Total Total
Gulf War Gulf War Sept '02 Dec '02 Mar '03*
  % % % % %
           
Strongly approve     20 23 25
Mildly approve     25 26 26.5
Total approve 57 75 45 49 51.5
Mildly disapprove     16 16 11.5
Strongly disapprove     31 27 29.5
Total disapprove 37 20 47 43 41
Can't say 6 5 8 8 7.5
Total 100 100 100 100 100
* March 2003 survey asked of electors.  Other surveys asked of people aged 14 plus.

The majority of supporters of the ALP (57%, up 5%), the Australian Democrats (82%) and the Greens (77%) disapprove of the use of an American military force against Iraq to depose Suddam Hussein. One Nation supporters (89%) were most likely to approve of America using military force against Iraq, followed by Coalition supporters (74%, up 11%). Independent/Other supporters were divided (43% approve cf 47% disapprove).

 Table 2. Do you approve or disapprove of the use of an American military force against Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein?

  Analysis by Federal Voting Intention
Total L-NP ALP Aust
Dem.#
The
Greens
One
Nation#
Ind/
Other#
No
Answer
  Mar '03
  % % % % % % % %
                   
Strongly approve 25 40.5 14 7 5 73 15 12.5
Mildly approve 26.5 33.5 22 11 13.5 16 28 24
Total approve 51.5 74 36 18 18.5 89 43 36.5
Mildly disapprove 11.5 10 14 18 11.5 - 8 16
Strongly disapprove 29.5 9.5 43 64 65.5 - 39 22.5
Total disapprove 41 19.5 57 82 77 - 47 38.5
Can't say 7.5 6.5 7 - 4.5 11 10 25
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

Men (58%) were more likely than women (45.5%) to approve of America taking military action against Iraq. Younger Australians were less likely than older Australians to approve of an American military force entering Iraq to depose Suddam Hussein.

Table 3. Do you approve or disapprove of the use of an American military force against Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein?

  Analysis by Gender and Age
Total  
  Mar '03 Men Women 18-24 25-34 35-49 50+
  % % % % % % %
                 
Strongly approve 25 32 19 17 23.5 22 31.5
Mildly approve 26.5 26 26.5 25 34 30.5 19.5
Total approve 51.5 58 45.5 42 57.5 52.5 51
Mildly disapprove 11.5 11 12 14 15.5 10.5 9
Strongly disapprove 29.5 26 33 38 21 29.5 31
Total disapprove 41 37 45 52 36.5 40 40
Can't say 7.5 5 9.5 6 6 7.5 9
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

2. The use of Australian military force in Iraq

On March 19 & 20, 2003, respondents were then asked: "Next, about Australians being part of an American military force - if military force is used to depose Saddam Hussein, do you approve or disapprove of Australians being part of the American military force?"

The table below compares results from March 2003 with results from December 2002 and September 2002 along with a similar question that was asked during the 1991 Gulf War. The question which was asked in December 1991 and February 1991 was: "Next about Australians being part of the American-led military force which is now being used to make Iraq leave Kuwait. Do you approve or disapprove of Australians being part of the military force?"

In March 2003, slightly more Australian electors (48.5%) disapproved of Australia being a part of an American military force to depose Iraqi Leader Saddam Hussein, while 46.5% approved and 5% were undecided. Of those who disapproved, most disapproved strongly (37.5%) while only 11% mildly disapprove. Amongst those who approved, 22% approved strongly while 24.5% mildly approved.

In a Morgan Poll taken three weeks into the 1991 Gulf War, 70% of Australians approved of Australia's involvement.  

Table 4. Comparison between 1990, 1991, September 2002, December 2002 and March 2003 Polls

The use of
Australian Military ForceIn Iraq
Total Total  
Dec '90 Feb '91
Before During Total Total Total
Gulf War Gulf War Sept '02 Dec '02 Mar '03*
  % % % % %
           
Strongly approve     15 17 22
Mildly approve     25 28 24.5
Total approve 54 70 40 45 46.5
Mildly disapprove     12 14 11
Strongly disapprove     42 38 37.5
Total disapprove 41 27 54 52 48.5
Can't say 5 3 6 3 5
  100 100 100 100 100
* March '03 survey asked of electors.  Other surveys were asked of people aged 14 plus.

The majority of supporters of most political Parties, with the exception of those who support the Coalition and One Nation, disapprove of Australia being involved in an American-led military conflict with Iraq to depose Suddam Hussein. Eighty-eight percent of Greens supporters disapprove of Australia being part of an American military force against Iraq. Sixty-six percent (up 3% since December 2002) of ALP supporters, 86% of Australian Democrat supporters and 57% of Independent/Other supporters disapprove of Australia being part of an American military force to depose Suddam Hussein.

Coalition supporters (73%, up 11% since December 2002) were most likely to approve of Australia being part of an American military force against Iraq, while 23.5% disapprove and 3.5% remain undecided.

Table 5. Do you approve or disapprove of Australia being part of an American military force against Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein?

  Analysis by Federal Voting Intention
Total L-NP ALP Aust
Dem.#
The
Greens
One
Nation#
Ind/
Other#
No
Answer#

  Mar '03
  % % % % % % % %
                   
Strongly approve 22 39.5 10 - 3 35.5 13.5 8.5
Mildly approve 24.5 33.5 18.5 12 6.5 50 20.5 15.5
Total approve 46.5 73 28.5 12 9.5 85.5 34 24
Mildly disapprove 11 9.5 12 18 9 - 12.5 15.5
Strongly disapprove 37.5 14 54 68 79 14.5 44.5 40
Total disapprove 48.5 23.5 66 86 88 14.5 57 55.5
Can't say 5 3.5 5.5 2 2.5 - 9 20.5
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

Women (54%) were more likely than men (42.5%) to disapprove of Australia being part of an American military force against Iraq. The majority of 18-24 year olds (60%) disapproved of Australia being involved in a war with Iraq.

Table 6. Do you approve or disapprove of Australia being part of an American military force against Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein?

  Analysis by Gender and Age
Total  
  Mar '03 Men Women 18-24 25-34 35-49 50+
  % % % % % % %
                 
Strongly approve 22 29.5 15.5 19 21.5 21.5 24
Mildly approve 24.5 24 24.5 17 30 24.5 24
Total approve 46.5 53.5 40 36 51.5 46 48
Mildly disapprove 11 9 12.5 13 16.5 11 7
Strongly disapprove 37.5 33.5 41.5 47 28 39 38
Total disapprove 48.5 42.5 54 60 44.5 50 45
Can't say 5 4 6 4 4 4 7
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100 100