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St. Paul, Minn. — In a statewide poll conducted last week, Minnesotans were asked whether they would support or oppose U.S. military action against Iraq if "The United States joined together with its major allies to attack Iraq with the full support of the United Nations Security Council." Seventy-five percent of those polled said they would support such an action.
"I think that if there can be enough consensus worldwide that the U.N. Security Council would support us going in there, than there must be a certain danger," said Jeff Cacek of Anoka, one of the poll respondents.
But Cacek says without U.N. backing, it's a different story. Like 45 percent of Minnesotans polled, he opposes going to war without U.N. support. He says Iraq's longest range missiles can only deliver weapons in the range of around 150 miles, and he wonders why, if Iraq's weapons of mass destruction really are a threat, Iraq's immediate neighbors don't seem to be worried.
"Turkey doesn't seem to be overly concerned; they want money from us for us to base troops there. It's hard to tell whether their parliament's going to approve it at all, and if they're not concerned, then I don't understand why we're risking the lives of hundreds of thousands of servicemen going over there," he said.
But another 45 percent of Minnesotans polled said they would support attacking Iraq without the U.N. Ann Pantila of St. Paul says someone needs to take strong action to deal with Saddam Hussein.
"I just think that if he's a threat to us and he's got missiles and he's being dishonest, it's something that someone needs to take a stand on. I think we should have learned from 9-11 that it's nothing to mess around with. I've got four kids and that's my concern. I don't want them living in a dangerous world, or at anytime thinking that we're going to walk down the street and something can happen," Pantila said.
Pantila emphasizes her support for President Bush. "I just stand behind him. He's a Christian, I'm a Christian, and I believe in what he's doing."
The poll found 54 percent of Minnesotans believe Bush is doing an excellent or good job. Twenty-four percent rated his performance fair. Eighteen percent rated it poor.
However, results of another polling question showed the majority of Minnesotans polled do not support the Bush Administration's push for immediate military action against Iraq.
The poll asked respondents to chose which of two options was best for the United States. The first was "take more time to try to achieve our goals in Iraq without going to war." Fifty-three percent of Minnesotans chose that option.
Thirty-five percent of Minnesotans chose the second option, to "move quickly with military action to deal effectively with the threat posed by Iraq."
Telephone interviewers surveyed 625 registered Minnesota voters for Minnesota Public Radio and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The sampling margin of error is plus- or minus-four percentage points.
The results in Minnesota parallelled those found in national polls. A recent Newsweek poll found 85 percent of Americans favor attacking Iraq with the full support of the United Nations. Without U.N. backing, support drops to 50 percent, with 45 percent of Americans opposed.