February 18, 2003

Survey Of Latino Attitudes On A Possible War With Iraq

Support for U.S. military action against Iraq is weaker in the Hispanic population, particularly among the foreign born, than in the American population overall, according to a Pew Hispanic Center poll of Latino adults taken February 13 to 16, 2003. Several recent polls by news organizations show that 60 to 70 percent of the general public supports military action. In this survey 48 percent of Latinos said they support invading Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power and 43 percent are opposed. Among native-born Latinos support for a possible war is 52 percent, and among foreign-born Latinos support is 46 percent in the Pew Hispanic Center poll. Overall Latino views mirror those of the general public on whether Iraq poses an immediate threat to the United States although somewhat fewer Latinos see a long-term threat from Iraq compared to the findings of general population polls.

Latino views are more closely in line with the findings of surveys of the population as a whole on the question of whether the United States should act immediately or give more time to United Nations weapons inspectors with 56 percent of all Latinos and 60 percent of foreign-born Latinos saying the inspectors should be given more time.

As with the population at large, approval of an attack on Iraq is highest when the question presupposes full United Nations’ support for the action and drops off significantly when the question presupposes U.S. action only with the support of major allies and without U.N. backing. In both scenarios, approval of an attack is lower among foreign-born Latinos than in the U.S. population overall as measured by other recent surveys.