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IRAQ - SUPPORT for Iraq War in key countries around the world

A REVIEW OF WORLDWIDE POPULAR SUPPORT (or lack of it) 
FOR WAR ON IRAQ 

The war support statistics were last updated on 4 Mar 2003

Note: For coverage post Iraq war, please go to our Iraq page.

The data below should be compared with the statistics on support for the U.S. worldwide post 9/11, when even France and Germany (and their people) - currently being disparaged by people in the Bush administration - in addition to most European nations supported the U.S. actions in Afghanistan. An even more poignant reminder of support from Germany, France, Russia, et al. post 9/11 can be seen here and here (via Population: One). 

The key takeaway from recent polling data across the world is the highly limited (popular) support for military action against Saddam, especially unilateral action by the U.S. (with some allies). Public support for military action without U.N. backing - even in nations whose leaders have signed letters of support for the U.S. - is in the minority worldwide.

If you find the data below interesting, check out our detailed one-table/chart compilation of all pros and cons relating to an invasion of Iraq - here. If you have additional data on polls taken in late January or February that you would like to bring to our attention, please email us at feedback-at-eriposte-dot-com.

# Country/
Area
Data Comments
1 Key countries 
worldwide
Gallup International Poll conducted in Jan 2003

Please click on the chart below to enlarge it - the chart shows a subset of the countries 
in which Gallup polled the population. 
Support for a military action against Iraq 
"unilaterally by the U.S. and its allies" is almost consistently below 10%-15% in most 
countries.
Support becomes noticeable only with U.N. backing and even then there is 
limited support in most countries. Note the U.S. data for comparison - only a third of 
the people polled in the U.S. approve unilateral action. (Click here for the list of the WSJ 8)

Note the comparison between Rumsfeld's "Old Europe" and the rest (which
presumably includes his "New Europe").

BBC 2-11-03:
Figures are cited in the rest of the table below. However, the BBC article notes that
"...
These anti-war figures are high compared to similar polls conducted before other 
US-led wars in recent times, including the first Gulf war, Kosovo and Afghanistan
. In each 
of those, military action was seen as being a reaction to aggressive action by an "enemy"..."

"...US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld offended the French and Germans by 
calling them, and others who stood against the US strategy on Iraq, "old Europe".
He saw the countries of "new Europe" further east as the more willing allies.
That is true of the political leaders in central and eastern Europe and the Balkans 
- including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic - all of whom have signed public 
letters of support for the US lead...
Yet public opinion in eastern Europe is even 
more hostile to war than in the west
..."

.
Support in countries whose heads wrote letters of support for Bush administration based 
on orchestrated support by the Editorial Page of the Wall Street Journal (yes!)
2 U.K. Washington Post 2-18-03: (In the U.K.) Today's poll, conducted by ICM, showed 
52 percent opposed to military action , with 29 percent in favor and the rest undecided. 
Meanwhile Blair's approval rating has dropped 9 points in the past two 
months -- to 35 percent, the lowest level since September 2000, 
when Britain suffered a gasoline shortage. (Note: The Guardian points out that Blair's 
rating has fallen 62 points in 15 months.
(via Daily Kos)

Tampa Bay Online 2-17-03: As an aside, note that British PM Tony Blair's popularity 
has dropped to 35% in the latest poll held Feb12-14 in the U.K. partly owing to his 
pro-Bush stance on Iraq. (via BuzzFlash)

BBC 2-12-03 (includes Gallup poll results above)
(a) Fewer than one out of every 10 Britons believe it would be right for the country 
to take part in a war against Iraq
without the UN passing a new resolution in favour of it.
(b) 45% of people polled said the UK should play no part in a war on Iraq - whatever 
the UN decides
(c) Three out of every five Britons think the UK and US Governments have failed to 
prove their case that Iraqi president Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction
(d) And half the people asked agreed with France and Germany that three times the 
present number of inspectors should be sent to Iraq to look for them.
(e) Fewer than one out of every four said it was to eliminate weapons of mass destruction.
(f) And just one out of every five thought it was to prevent another act of international 
terrorism "like 11 September".
(g) Almost three out of every four Britons believe a war against 
Saddam would damage relations with Muslims in the UK.
(h) And it indicates that nearly as many (64%) think it would fail 
to deter other countries from developing weapons of mass destruction.

AlertNet 1-30-03:
A YouGov poll for the Sunday Times on January 26 showed 68 percent of people 
thought Prime Minister Tony Blair had failed to convince them of the 
need for war with Iraq. Some 26 percent said they were convinced Iraqi President 
Saddam Hussein was dangerous enough to necessitate a war.

.
3 Spain Guardian 2-18-03 reporting on an El Pais newspaper poll (via Atrios):
An El Pais newspaper poll two weeks ago showed 69% of Spaniards were against 
even a UN-backed war.

Also noteworthy: "...Spain's prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar, was coming to terms 
yesterday with the fact that his unswerving support for George Bush on Iraq 
had inflicted heavy political damage that could cost his conservative People's party 
its hold on power.
Ministers admitted that the government's position was 
"causing significant electoral damage" and Mr Aznar's wife, Ana Botella, was 
quoted as saying his party was going through "one of the worst moments in its history".
Between 2 million and 3 million people took to the streets of Spanish cities to 
protest at the weekend in what was said to the biggest overall turnout in the 
world. As many as one in 15 Spaniards marched. More significantly for Mr Aznar, 
opinion polls have shown that, for the first time since securing a clear victory in elections 
three years ago, the Socialists have overtaken the People's party in voting intentions.

Mr Aznar also faced embarrassment yesterday when it was revealed that in 1997 
he had offered to pay Baghdad in "aid" if it gave oil contracts to the 
Spanish-owned Repsol company. The government was ready to make a "donation" if 
Repsol was given a concession in the Nasiriya field, despite the fact that the UN 
had just issued a series of resolutions condemning Iraq's continued blocking of 
inspections, according to El Mundo newspaper, which quoted official documents..."

Gallup International Poll 2003:
Over 70% oppose any military action against Iraq.

AlertNet 1-30-03:
A January poll by right-of-centre newspaper El Mundo found 80 percent 
of Spaniards opposed the U.S. stance towards war in Iraq while 
another by a radio station in the same month showed only 6.6 percent 
thought there were reasons to go to war. No official poll has been carried out 
since September, when two thirds of Spaniards opposed a war.

.
4 Italy AlertNet 1-30-03:
A poll by Swg published on January 29 showed 72.7 percent of Italians 
disagreed with a U.S.-led preventative war against Iraq while 
18.8 percent said they would support such action.
.
5 Poland AlertNet 1-30-03:
A TNS-OBOP survey showed 63 percent of Poles opposed 
sending troops to join any action against Iraq but 52 percent 
thought the country should give political backing to 
the United States for any such action.
.
6 Portugal Gallup International Poll 2003:
Over 50% oppose any military action against Iraq.

AlertNet 1-30-03:
No official polls were available but an informal survey 
by Diario Digital showed opinion running almost two 
to one against Portugal supporting any U.S.-led action.

.
7 Hungary AlertNet 1-30-03:
A Gallup poll published on January 27 showed 82 percent 
of Hungarians opposed military action under any circumstances. 
The remaining 18 percent said they would support a war but 
of those, two thirds said that support would be conditional on U.N. approval.
.
8 Czech 
Republic
AlertNet 1-30-03:
A poll by the publicly-funded CVVM agency in the Czech Republic 
on Thursday showed 67 percent were against a war with Iraq and 
24 percent of respondents were in favour. The support total falls to 13 
percent without a second U.N. resolution while the percentage against the 
war rises to 76 percent.
.
9 Denmark Gallup International Poll 2003:
Over 45% oppose any military action against Iraq, and less than 40% support 
military action backed by the U.N.

AlertNet 1-30-03:
A Vilstrup Research poll published on January 25 showed 79 percent 
of Danes would oppose a U.S.-led war without a U.N. mandate while 
57 percent would still oppose a war if there was a U.N. mandate.

.
Support of people in Rumsfeld's "Old Europe"
10 France Gallup International Poll 2003:
~60% oppose any military action against Iraq. About a third of those polled support 
military action, most only if the U.N. backs it.

AlertNet 1-30-03:
A CSA Institute poll published on January 23 showed 73 percent of French people were 
against a U.S.-led attack on Iraq, up from 66 percent in a similar poll two weeks earlier.

.
11 Germany Gallup International Poll 2003:
~50% oppose any military action against Iraq. However slightly under 50% support 
military action, but largely (almost 40%) only if the U.N. backs it.

AlertNet 1-30-03:
An opinion poll by Germany's Forsa institute published a week ago found 69 percent 
of Germans wanted the country to vote against any U.N. resolution mandating war 
against Iraq. An Emnid poll in Der Spiegel news magazine showed 72 percent 
of Germans were against their troops joining any war.

BBC 2-11-03:
- The Forsa poll found 57% of Germans held the opinion that "the United States is 
a nation of warmongers".
- Only 6% said they thought President George W Bush was concerned 
with "preserving peace".

.
Other countries
12 Australia The Star 2-18-03: An opinion poll also taken on the weekend and published 
Tuesday showed Howard's popularity has slumped to an eight-month low.
His voter satisfaction rating plummeted from 65 percent last October to 48 
percent, the Newspoll poll published in The Australian newspaper showed. 
The prime minister said his policies on Iraq were based on what he thinks 
is right and not what might be popular. (via Daily Kos)

Gallup International Poll 2003:
~27% oppose any military action against Iraq. About 56% support 
military action only if the U.N. backs it. Only 12% back unilateral action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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