WASHINGTON - Seven in 10 people in a poll say the Bush administration implied that Iraq and its leader Saddam Hussein were involved in the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States.
And a majority, 52 percent, say they believe the United States has found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam was working closely with the al-Qaida terrorist organization.
The number that believes this country has found weapons of mass destruction is 23 percent, down from 34 percent in May, according to a poll conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland.
Prewar assertions by the Bush administration about al-Qaida's ties to the Iraqi government have not been proven, and weapons of mass destruction have not been found since the invasion of Iraq.
CIA officials have said that two trailers recovered in Iraq were mobile biological weapons laboratories; Bush administration officials have called the trailers the most significant evidence yet that their allegations of Saddam's weapons programs were accurate.
Only four in 10 of those polled, 39 percent, said they thought the government was being fully truthful when it presented evidence of links between Saddam and al-Qaida. But among those who thought the government was not telling the truth, people were more likely to say the government was "stretching the truth, but not making false statements" rather than "presenting evidence they knew was false."
The number who want the United Nations to take a leadership role in Iraq has grown from 50 percent in April to 64 percent now.
More than 60 U.S. troops have died in Iraq since President Bush declared May 1 that major combat had ended. But the American public remains committed to sticking with the Iraq mission.
Eight in 10 said the United States has the responsibility to remain in Iraq as long as necessary until there is a stable government.
The poll of 1,051 adults was taken June 18-25 by Knowledge Networks and has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
© 2003 The Associated Press