April 2, 2003

Sun Poll Finds Mixed Opinions on Iraq War

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In strong disagreement with the sentiment of the general American public, almost half of Cornell students responding to a poll conducted by The Sun oppose the current military stance on Iraq. Nearly 50 percent of the 200 students polled are against the war. The remaining students were split between those with mixed feelings concerning the military situation and those who support the war.

Twenty-seven percent of those polled responded with mixed feelings and were unable to commit to either supporting or opposing the military action, while 24 percent support the war.

The poll was conducted yesterday and Monday on Ho Plaza and outside of Trillium. Random students were asked whether they supported the war, opposed it or were not sure.

The most recent results of a Gallup poll taken last weekend found that the level of support for the military engagement remains at a constant 70 percent nationally.

The Gallup Organization reports that its findings reflect the results of the other major news sources concerning the American public’s position on the military action: “An ABC News/Washington Post poll, conducted March 27, shows support for the war at 73 percent and opposition at 24 percent. A March 26-27 CBS News poll finds that more than three-quarters of the public, 77 percent, approve ‘of the United States taking military action against Iraq to try to remove Saddam Hussein from power.'”

A similar poll conducted at Harvard University late last week reflects student responses comparable to the opinions of the Cornell student body. According to the Harvard Crimson survey of 400 students, nearly 56 percent were equally divided between “strong” and “somewhat” strong stances of opposition to the war, while 34 percent endorsed military action only by “somewhat” supporting the war.

Many Cornell students polled were eager to express their opinions of the military action.

“While I agree with certain elements of the cause for this attack, I don’t think the Bush Administration is really going about it the right way. [President George Bush] is not focusing enough on resolution and too much on engagement,” commented Julian Russo ’05.

Billy Tobenkin ’05 is also opposed to the U.S. military action in Iraq: “Although I do think Saddam Hussein is a horrible person, I can’t help but feel that America is bullying around other countries.”

Of those who responded in the unsure/mixed category, “lack of knowledge” and “have yet to decide” were the most common explanations for the unease among the students.

“I haven’t really thought about it,” stated Jason Wang ’04. “I understand this is really an important event, but it’s sad to say that I feel distant, and obviously with all of these protests going on I really should be more involved.”

Michelle Michaels ’04 also has mixed feelings.

She said, “I was opposed to the war before it started, but now that it has begun it seems futile to oppose the war. However, I don’t like the political repercussions I feel it will have on the U.S. in the United Nations and as an international superpower.”

Jessica Barrett ’06 opposes the war and expressed concern that students are not as informed as they should be concerning the current military situation.

“I think a lot of students rush to take sides on the issue before finding out facts about the war. I would advise people to find evidence before taking a stance,” Barrett said.

In light of the current debate concerning whether being antiwar necessitates an anti-troop position as well, Barrett continued, “Being antiwar does not mean being anti-troop. I support America’s troops wholeheartedly by wanting to bring them home.”

Gregory Van Dyke grad strongly supports the U.S. military action.

“I support the war because I don’t believe that terrorism is a valid form of political expression or action,” Van Dyke said. “The U.S. lost too many good people in 9/11. We’re finding out more and more about Saddam Hussein’s mass weaponry each day, and I believe that he would use them against his own people or us. Hussein just doesn’t care.”

Archived article by Sarah Workman