updated 7/23/2005 10:38:16 AM ET 2005-07-23T14:38:16

A growing number of Americans fear the war in Iraq is undermining the fight against terrorism and raising the risk of terrorist attacks in this country, a poll found.

Almost half, 47 percent, say the war in Iraq has hurt the fight against terrorism — the highest number to say that since the war began in March 2003, according to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

And about the same number, 45 percent, said soon after the first round of subway bombings in London that the war in Iraq was raising the risk of terrorism in this country. That’s up from 36 percent last fall.

Overall support unchanged
But increased doubts about the effects of the Iraq war have not had much of an effect on overall support for the continuing effort to establish Iraq’s attempts at democracy. About half the public, 52 percent, favors staying in Iraq until the country is stabilized and about the same number, 49 percent, support the decision to go to war.

The number who support the decision to go to war has not changed much during the year.

People are evenly divided on whether a timetable should be set on withdrawal from Iraq.

Hopes remain high that the United States can eventually establish a stable government in Iraq, with six in 10 saying they think a stable government will be established and just a third said the U.S. will fail.

Only a fourth of those polled, 27 percent, said President Bush has a clear plan for bringing the situation in Iraq to a successful conclusion. That’s the lowest number on that measure since the start of the war.

The poll of 1,502 adults was taken July 13-17 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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