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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Gallup: Americans Want UN to Act on Iraq

Aired November 1, 2002 - 12:50   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's move on to another big issue that's been around all of this week that, indeed, in recent weeks, the United Nations. How does the public generally feel about the UN's role, as far as Iraq is concerned?
FRANK NEWPORT, GALLUP POLL: Well, we have consistently found -- actually, Wolf, going all the way back to 1990 or 1991, that the public likes the idea of allied and the United Nations support before the U.S. begins military action. We found it with Bush, the elder, as I mentioned, back then.

Now we're finding the same thing. We found it in our polling, a poll just completed again by "Newsweek" showed 61 percent of Americans said it's very important that the United Nations passes a resolution of support before the United States begins military action. Now, what that means is when we asked the public in our most recent poll how quickly should the U.S. move against Iraq, no huge impetus to move quickly. Just about a quarter of Americans say we should move, that is the United States, should move immediately.

You've got the rest of the public saying, if diplomatic actions need to be taken in that second and third alternative, it's okay to wait till the end of the year, even beyond the end of the year. So I think that's all tied up in this same idea that it's okay to wait for the United Nations -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Finally, Frank, this question. In the long run, are Americans optimistic that military action against Iraq can, indeed, be avoided?

NEWPORT: No. In fact, that's the irony of all of this. After what I just showed you about support for the idea of the United Nations passing a resolution, sending the arms inspectors back there, now when we asked about it a month or two ago, will those kinds of weapons inspections be effective by the United Nations? No, says the American public. Two thirds says no.

I think we're getting a real sense of pessimism from the public that we need to go through these steps -- that is, the United States needs to go through these steps, Wolf. But in the long run, nothing but military action is going to deter Saddam Hussein. That's what we're reading from the public, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Frank Newport, as usual, helping us better understand the mood, the views of the American public. Thanks very much, Frank...

NEWPORT: You bet.

BLITZER: ... for all that information.

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