- House and Senate members say their constituent mail is
running overwhelmingly against a unilateral attack on Iraq, although several
Republicans say that has started to change.
- "It's overwhelming numbers, something like 300 to
29," said Sen. Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island Republican.
- Others reported even more lopsided responses opposed
to war, and said phone calls seemed to be genuine outpourings from constituents,
not a concerted drive by war opponents to flood offices.
- "This is not orchestrated. People overwhelmingly
want it done multilaterally," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California
Democrat, whose office had received more than 20,000 contacts, of which
about 300 were supportive of unilateral military action.
- Still, public polls are running in favor of using force
against Saddam Hussein and in support of President Bush.
- An ABC News-Washington Post poll released Friday found
58 percent of respondents approved of the president's handling of Iraq.
Furthermore, 61 percent favored the use of U.S. military forces to remove
Saddam from power. Of those, more than three-fourths said they would feel
that way even if U.S. allies opposed such action.
- "I think what they are saying is they would like
to see the problems with Iraq resolved, but they would like to see it worked
out without war," said Rep. Michael N. Castle, Delaware Republican.
- Several senators and staffers said part of the reason
the calls don't match the polls is that someone who is in favor of war
is much less likely to call to express their opinion.
- Sen. Pete V. Domenici, New Mexico Republican, said he
had met with 13 constituents and took an informal poll of the three men
and 10 women. All supported the president's stance on Iraq, he said.
- Some lawmakers said part of the discrepancy may be because
the president's full-court press on the issue gives his opponents a rallying
- That could explain the e-mails and phone calls to the
office of Rep. Jim McDermott, Washington Democrat, who traveled to Iraq
- Spokesman John Larmett said calls went from about 80-to-1
opposed to war before the trip to about 50-50 during and after the trip.
Many of those new calls in support of the president came from outside Mr.
McDermott's Seattle district. Mr. Larmett said calls of support within
the district still comprised about 85 percent of communications.
- Michigan Democrat Rep. David E. Bonior, who traveled
with Mr. McDermott, saw a boost in support for his position.
- Communications to his office "tipped dramatically
more toward the pro-'our position,'" spokesman Bob Allison said.
- Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, said the messages
from letters and calls to his office were running opposed to war, but that
reversed after former Vice President Al Gore questioned the president's
Iraq policy and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat,
accused the president of politicizing national security.
- "The week before last, they were solidly opposed
to war. After the Gore speech and the Daschle speech, it definitely turned
around," Mr. Brownback said.