Skip to site content

Worldwide Public Opinion Opposes War

Public opinion polls in democratic nations around the world show overwhelming opposition to an American-led war against Iraq.

Nowhere is public opposition higher than in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Turkey, where the parliament failed to approve Saturday a measure to allow the United States to have a military base for an attack against Iraq.
Despite intense American lobbying, which included a massive multi-billion dollar aid package, the Turkish government did not muster the necessary votes for approval.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” /> 
The Washington Post reported that “the overwhelming reason that the measure failed … was the demand of the Turkish people to stay out of war.”

One legislator told the Post: “I’m a realist. And every day, I’m not kidding, I got 60 to 70 messages from people telling me to vote against.”

EthicsDaily.com research over the past several weeks has found public opinion polls showing deep opposition among America’s traditional allies: 

  • In Turkey, more than 95 percent of those surveyed oppose war against Iraq.  
  • In Germany, 81 percent are against the war. Only 12 percent believe war is justified. 
  • In France, more than 80 percent support President Jacques Chirac’s efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the Iraqi crisis. 
  • In Australia, 76 percent oppose U.S.-led war. Fifty-seven percent support military action with U.N. backing. 
  • In Mexico, 75 percent of the people “strongly” oppose war in Iraq. 
  • In Spain, 70 percent of the public disagrees with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar’s support of war. 
  • In Canada, 66 percent of respondents oppose U.S. unilateralism against Iraq, favoring U.N. approval. Only 26 percent favor unilateral action.
  • In Britain, 52 percent oppose war, compared to 29 percent who support war. According to a mid-February survey, 74 percent of Britons say their confidence in President Bush stands at either “not much” or “none at all.” 
  • In Poland, 24 percent support war if inspectors find weapons of mass destruction, while 34 percent oppose war. Poland is often cited as one of the European nations supporting the U.S. position on Iraq.   

American public opinion polls show much more support for war against Iraq than global public opinion, although U.S support is tempered by U.N. backing.    
According to a CNN/USAToday/Gallup Poll, 59 percent favor invading Iraq with U.S. ground troops, while 37 percent oppose such action.

The same poll found that 40 percent say U.S. ground troops should invade Iraq only with U.N. approval, compared to 38 percent that favor the use of military force without U.N. approval.

A CBS News Poll found that 62 percent of Americans want to give UN inspectors more time, while 36 percent want the United States to act fairly soon.

The CBS poll also showed that 64 percent of Americans favor waiting for U.N. approval, compared to 31 percent who say the United States should act now.

“On the international scene, the depth of opposition to war in some nations is staggering and the shallowness of support in other nations is alarming,” said Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics.

Even in the United States, public opinion for war is qualified at best, he said.