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Poll: Bush gaining support on invading Iraq

Economy still a bigger concern, survey finds

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(CNN) -- The Bush administration is doing a better job of garnering public support to attack Iraq, but the masses still care more about confirmed economic problems than suspected nuclear weapons, a recent poll indicates.

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll survey reveals that 54 percent think the United States has exhausted diplomatic efforts to disarm Iraq, and 56 percent said the White House has "made a convincing case" for taking military action against Baghdad.

Yet 50 percent of those surveyed said domestic economic conditions are more important to the country, while 40 percent said Iraq was more important. The poll of 1,000 American adults taken last weekend has a sampling error of plus or minus 3 points.

Percent of respondents who are certain that Iraq ...

Is hiding evidence:        66

Is obstructing inspectors:   57

Has bio/chemical weapons:   56

Has weapons facilities:   55

Is seeking nuclear weapons:   47

Has ties to Osama bin Laden:  39

Source: CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll

The poll revealed a slight uptick in the number of people who do not want the United States to hold out for approval from the United Nations before invading Iraq. Last week, 33 percent of respondents said the United States should attack even if the United Nations does not hold a new vote authorizing U.S. military action. That number moved to 39 percent of participants in the weekend poll.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents, 63 percent, favor sending ground troops to remove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein from power, and 52 percent support sending U.S. ground troops to Iraq within the next few weeks unless Saddam produces evidence that Iraq is disarming itself of weapons of mass destruction. At 45 percent, the number of participants who favor giving U.N. teams more time to perform weapons inspections is not far behind.

Most respondents, 56 percent, said Iraq poses a long-term threat to the United States. That number is down from 61 percent a week ago. The poll found that 36 percent of participants felt Iraq posed an immediate threat.

Terrorism remained a primary concern, with 48 percent of respondents saying they were worried that a family member might become a victim of terrorism and 66 percent thinking such an attack would likely happen in the next few weeks. The majority of respondents, 53 percent, said they place a fair amount of confidence in the U.S. government to protect its citizens from terrorism, and 29 percent had a great deal of confidence.

President Bush's approval rating remains at 61 percent.

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