Public Opinion: Perception of War Changes Swiftly

Pew Research Center Poll, 3/25/03: "Public Confidence In War Effort Falters, but Support for War Holds Steady": About 3/4 of Americans continue to support the war, but the proportion who think it is "going very well" is dropping.

The percentage of the public thinking the war was going very well was as high as 71% on Friday and Saturday, only to fall to 52% on Sunday and 38% Monday as the public learned of American casualties and POW's. Overall, the interviews by Sunday and Monday found about as many people thinking the war effort was going just fairly well (41%) as opposed to very well (45%). Only 8% went as far as to say the war effort was not going well.

But there are no indications that declining optimism about progress in the war is affecting overall support for military action or President Bush's handling of the conflict. Roughly seven-in-ten Americans say it was the right decision to use military force against Iraq, a figure that remained fairly stable during the polling period. And about the same number (71%) give the president positive marks for his handling of the war.