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Polls show support in America for war is growing but support for Bush is dropping.

By Will Lester    AP

WASHINGTON (March 10) - President Bush has managed to rally public support for a likely war with Iraq, even though support for him personally has continued to slip, say polls released Monday.

While polls show Bush's approval has dropped into the low to mid-50s, they also show general support for military action holding firm, and sentiment for the need for prompt action growing slightly.

The polls highlighted the stakes for the president in the Iraq conflict.

Two-thirds support military action against Iraq. About that many say United Nations support is desirable but not necessary if the United States has the support of other countries like Australia, Britain and Spain, according to an ABC poll.

Public support for the war has tended to fluctuate depending on the timing and whether this country has the support of allies or the United Nations.

Half of the respondents in a CBS-New York Times poll said the threat of Iraq's development of weapons requires action now, while four in 10 said the threat can be contained; the public was evenly divided on that question in early March. The number in that poll who said weapons inspectors should be given more time was down from 60 percent in early March to 52 percent now.

The president's diminished political standing was suggested in an Ipsos-Reid poll done for the Cook Political Report. His overall job approval was at 53 percent in the Ipsos-Reid poll, down from 65 percent in the early fall. His job approval has been in the low to mid-50s in several recent polls, near the levels it was before Sept. 11, 2001.

Only four in 10 in the Ipsos-Reid poll, 39 percent, said they would definitely vote to re-elect Bush, while 34 percent said they would definitely vote for someone else. A year ago, 54 percent said they would definitely vote for Bush while 20 percent wanted someone else.

Independents were evenly split on the question and Bush was trailing in two regions of the country - the Northeast and the West.

Because no specific Democrat was mentioned, the re-election question is a measure of partisan opposition to Bush and is not an accurate measure of how he would do in a head-to-head matchup against a specific Democrat.

The ABC News poll of 1,032 adults was taken March 5-9. The CBS-Times poll of 1,010 adults was taken March 7-9 and the Ipsos-Reid poll of 2,009 adults was taken between Feb. 18 and March 6. The polls by ABC and CBS-Times had error margins of plus or minus 3 percentage points, while the Ipsos-Reid poll had an error margin of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

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