Since Sept. 11, Americans have become more pessimistic about defeating terrorism, President Bush’s approval rating has dropped and Americans still support military action against Iraq, according to the poll.

“These results were measured on Oct. 14-17, during a week in which Americans were exposed to news stories reflecting the aftermath of the terrorist bombings in Indonesia, warnings from the CIA director and others that Al Qaeda is regrouping and planning new terrorist acts, and continuing discussion of issues revolving around the threat posed by Iraq and Saddam Hussein,” Gallup reported.

When asked who they thought was winning the war on terrorism, only 32 percent said the United States and its allies. Forty-four percent said neither side was winning. And 21 percent said the terrorists were winning the war.

As Americans’ faith in the war on terrorism dissipates, so too does their approval of Bush.

“The general trend in Bush’s job approval has been gradually downward from the record high of 90% measured in September 2001,” according to Gallup. “In recent weeks, however, the president’s ratings have stabilized in the range from 65% to 70%, coincident with the administration’s focus on the war in Iraq.”

Americans are generally in support of military action against Iraq.

Fifty-six percent of Americans favor “invading Iraq with U.S. ground troops in an attempt to remove Saddam Hussein from power,” while 37 percent oppose an invasion.

According to the October poll, terrorism, war and violence are in the top five of things Americans classify as the most important “problem facing this country today.” The state of the economy is the only greater concern, with 37 percent of Americans calling it the No. 1 problem facing the United States.

Jodi Mathews is BCE’s communications director.

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