March 19, 2004

Survey: One year later,
Capital Region still divided on Iraq War

Researchers also find declining support for President Bush

Full Report (pdf)

One year after the U.S.-led coalition began its invasion of Iraq, Capital Region residents remain divided about whether it was a good idea, according to a survey released today by researchers at California State University, Sacramento.

The survey found 50 percent of the region’s residents think the Iraq War was worthwhile, down from 52 percent last year, while 45 percent think the war wasn’t worth it, up from 42 percent last year. That’s similar to a national Gallup Poll in late January showing 49 percent of Americans approve of the Iraq War and 49 percent do not.

The survey also found President Bush losing overall support in the region, from 57 percent last year to 50 percent this year. About half continue to support the president’s handling of the situation with Iraq (46 percent in 2003 and 2004) and his handling of the economy (48 percent in 2004 vs. 47 percent in 2003). But just 36 percent approve of his handling of the budget, 34 percent approve of his handling of Social Security and 31 percent approve of his handling of Medicare.

The findings are from the third “Annual Survey of Public Opinion and Life Quality in the Sacramento Region,” conducted by CSUS sociology professor Amy Liu and more than 30 students. It covers El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties.

The findings on Iraq and President Bush are the first portions of the survey to be analyzed and released.

In Sacramento and Yolo counties, approval for the war is 48 percent and 31 percent respectively, while in El Dorado and Placer counties support is 68 percent and 57 percent. Republicans (80 percent) and Caucasians (55 percent) showed stronger support than Democrats (26 percent), voters of other parties (43 percent) and ethnic minorities (38 percent).

The survey found there is no consensus on how the post-war situation has been handled or about the number of troops now needed in Iraq.

The survey included 1,003 randomly selected adults in the Capital Region who were interviewed from Feb. 7 to March 2. The margin of error is 3 percent.

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