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Minnesotans split on views of Iraq war

Associated Press

ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans are divided about equally into three camps in their view of the Iraq war, a new poll shows.

The poll found that 32 percent of Minnesotans believe the Bush Administration was right to fight the war and is doing the right thing in rebuilding Iraq; 33 percent support the war but believe there was not adequate preparation for the aftermath; and 30 percent believe the Bush Administration was wrong to go to war in the first place.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press-Minnesota Public Radio poll was published today.

The numbers have changed slightly since May, when the same question was posed. Those who support the war and U.S. policy during the occupation have gone up from 29 percent in May to 32 percent now, but those who opposed the war in the first place have also increased slightly, from 28 percent in May to 30 percent now. Those who support the war but are critical of the occupation policy have declined from 41 percent in May to 33 percent now.

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The poll of 625 registered voters was conducted Sept. 11-14. It found that 50 percent believe the war will make things better in Iraq, but 40 percent believe it will ultimately hurt U.S. standing in the world. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Only 22 percent believed that the war will improve U.S. standing in the world, and only 17 percent believed the war will make things worse for people in Iraq.

National polls have shown a similar split over the war. Support has generally declined since a high point during the invasion in March and April of last year.

Within Minnesota, Dave Ramler of Maple Grove and Millie Ahmann of St. Paul demonstrate the divisions among registered voters.

Ramler said the war in Iraq and its bloody aftermath are worthy battles and said the United States was right to go against its traditional allies of Germany and France.

He said he believes the continuing battles in Iraq also serve an important purpose. "If you don't root the extremists out, they're going to be on our own soil," Ramler said.

Ramler said France and Germany's economic ties with Iraq affected their judgment, and he does not worry about criticism from the United Nations. "The U.N. is a disaster -- it'll never work," he said.

On the other hand, Ahmann said the war was wrong from the start and has caused needless deaths and casualties, and has turned the outpouring of world sympathy after Sept. 11 into a wave of anti-U.S. feeling.

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"I think our credibility went right down the tube," Ahmann said. "I was just disgusted to think that our credibility for the U.S. was so high after 9/11. To think that it could get torn down so easily, so quickly."

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