A new poll shows that 57 percent of Americans continue to believe that Saddam Hussein gave "substantial support" to al-Qaida terrorists before the war with Iraq, despite a lack of evidence of that relationship.
In addition, 45 percent of Americans have the impression that "clear evidence" was found that Iraq worked closely with Osama bin Laden's network, and a majority believe that before the war Iraq either had weapons of mass destruction (38 percent) or a major program for developing them (22 percent).
There's no known evidence to date that these statements are true.
"We're so polarized right now that people are seeing what they want to see through a very partisan lens," said Thomas Mann, a political analyst and Brookings Institution scholar.But there is also this:
The number of those who believed the year-old war would result in greater peace and stability in the Middle East has dropped from 56 percent in a Gallup poll in May 2003 to 40 percent last month in the PIPA poll.
And for the first time, a majority of Americans - 51 percent - said they thought that a majority of Iraqis wanted U.S. forces to leave. The survey was completed before the worst violence of the occupation erupted in April.