AMERICANS SEE PROTRACTED WAR, POLLS SHOW

A majority of Americans continues to support the decision to wage war on Iraq although many now believe it will last for months instead of weeks, according to polls published Tuesday. An ABC News/Washington Post poll taken Sunday found 75 percent of Americans approve of the military effort to drive Iraq out of Kuwait, down from 83 percent two days earlier. Strong approval for the decision dropped to 51 percent from 62 percent.

President Bush won high marks for his handling of the conflict. But a growing feeling that the war may drag on for months led more than four out of 10 respondents to say the US should negotiate with Iraq.

A CBS News/New York Times poll Tuesday showed that 84 percent of Americans approved of Bush's actions. The ABC/Washington Post poll and a Cable News Network (CNN) survey reported similar approval ratings for the president.

Forty percent of those surveyed told the CBS/New York Times poll that, on the day after US-led forces began bombing Iraq, they thought the war would be over in a few weeks. But by Sunday only about 20 percent expected a swift end to the conflict.

The ABC/Washington Post survey found two-thirds of those questioned said they thought the war would last three months or longer, and one in five thought it would last a year or more.

Only 39 percent of the respondents said they believe the coalition forces are doing better than expected, compared with about 50 percent in the earlier poll.

The ABC/Washington Post poll surveyed 532 adults, and it has a margin of error of 5 percent. The CBS/New York Times poll surveyed 867 adults, and it has a margin of error of between 3 percent and 4 percent.

A USA Today poll published Tuesday said 82 percent of those polled ``now believe even more strongly'' that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein must be forced out of Kuwait because of his poor treatment of prisoners of war.

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