Two in one strike

Has President Bush now finished off his other opponent, Howard Dean??

What does the arrest of "Tigers of Tikrit" for the Iraqis? What does it mean for the Americans and for the next presidential election??

Newsweek has pulled the cover story it had planned for today, an article on Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean, in order to go with Saddam and the headline "We Got Him" open. With the elimination of Bush’s favorite enemy, Dean must also bury his hopes for another title, that of President of the United States? Two polls conducted independently yesterday after the announcement of Saddam’s capture sounded out the mood in the U.S. – and came up with quite different results.

A poll conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News concluded that while Saddam’s capture made Americans optimistic, in principle it had not changed the prevailing opinion on the war in Iraq. Nine out of ten respondents thought the U.S. still faces many difficulties in Iraq; fewer than one in ten believed U.S. troops are now protected from attacks. Only 15 to 23 percent said that the arrest of "a rough aid" be. Nevertheless, Bush’s popularity, which had recently been quite tarnished, rose sharply, as expected (cf. President Bush’s poll numbers drop considerably): His ratings rose from 48 percent in mid-November to 58 percent. The public is divided on whether it was right to start the war in Iraq: 42 percent of those surveyed were against the war, while 53 percent thought it was necessary and right. These are the same results as last month, so attitudes toward the war have not changed with the capture of Saddam. More and more Americans, namely 27 percent, think that the war is going unexpectedly badly. Last night – thanks to massive news coverage – nine out of ten already knew about Saddam’s capture. A narrow majority favored that the Iraqi ex-dictator be brought before an international tribunal.

According to the poll, also conducted over the phone by CNN, USA Today and Gallup, ten percent more, or 63 percent, thought the war was good and right. More than half of the respondents were surprisingly confident that weapons of mass destruction would still be found in Iraq. Most of those interviewed felt that the arrest of Saddam had strengthened their confidence in the government and their optimism: now a stable government would be possible in Iraq and Osama bin Laden would also be found soon. According to the survey, confidence in the government is the highest it has been in a long time, at 84 percent, a level last seen at the end of March, shortly after the start of the war.