Majority of Brits Welcome Bush ICM Poll


miss calm

Majority backs Bush visit: poll

From correspondents in London

November 18, 2003

MORE Britons approve of US President George W. Bush's planned visit to their
country than disapprove, a poll says.

Forty-three per cent of those questioned in an ICM survey for The Guardian
newspaper's editions today said Bush should visit Britain, while 36 per cent
said he should not.

He is to arrive for a state visit today.

The survey contrasted with a poll published last week in which 59 per cent
of respondents said US standing in the world had diminished under Bush's
presidency, while 60 per cent disapproved of his performance in Iraq. In
that survey, by Populus for The Times newspaper, 47 per cent said Bush did
not seem up to the job of being US president.

In the new poll, 62 per cent agreed that the US was "generally speaking, a
force for good", while 15 per cent thought it was "an evil empire".

The poll also contained some heartening news for Prime Minister Tony Blair,
who has paid a steep political price for his close relationship with Bush
and involvement in the Iraq war.

The poll found his personal rating improved from last month, when it hit its
lowest level. This time, 52 per cent said they were dissatisfied with
Blair's performance, compared to 40 per cent who said they were satisfied.

In October, 61 per cent said they were unhappy and 33 per cent said they
were happy.

Forty-seven per cent of those questioned said they supported the Iraq war,
up 9 points from a September poll, and 41 per cent opposed the action, down
12 points since September.

About two-thirds said it would be a mistake for British and US troops to
leave the country now.

ICM interviewed 1000 people between Friday and Sunday, with a margin of
error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.



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