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U.S., British Public Opinion on War Heads in Different Directions

Public opinion in the United States and Britain is moving in opposition directions about the legitimacy of war against Iraq.

In the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />United States, President Bush won more support for war, according to a weekend poll. In Britain, Prime Minister Tony Blair lost support for war, according to a Friday-Sunday poll.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” /> 
The latest New York Times/CBS News Poll showed that 44 percent of those surveyed favored U.S. military engagement against Iraq in the near future, compared to 36 percent two weeks ago.  
Most Americans still favor giving U.N. inspectors more time, but support for that position declined to 52 percent from 62 percent two weeks ago.  
“Nearly half said Mr. Bush was driven by the personal desire to accomplish what his father did not when he cut off his invasion of Iraq in 1991 without ousting Mr. Hussein,” said the Times
Across the Atlantic, British attitudes toward war are shifting away from Blair’s strong commitment to war against Iraq. 

“Tony Blair still faces a huge task to win the support of the public for military action against Iraq,” reported the London Times.  
According to the Populus poll, 62 percent of those surveyed said that the United States and Britain have not made a convincing case for war, compared to 57 percent a month ago.  
Only 19 percent of the British public favored war “regardless of whether there is a new UN resolution,” the Times said. 
Support for war within Blair’s own political party fell from 50 to 43 percent. 
Like Blair, Australian Prime Minister John Howard faces increasing public opposition to a U.S.-led war. 
A new poll in Australia showed that most Australians oppose war without U.N. approval.
Public opposition increased to 59 percent, according to the Sydney Morning Herald