A new national poll shows that there is a previously unrecognized anti-war voting block that will not support pro-war candidates is large enough that candidates and incumbent politicians from the two major parties cannot afford to ignore it. The Peace Vote is larger than the pro-gun, anti-abortion, or the anti-gay marriage voting blocks. A near-majority of voters either strongly or somewhat agree with a pledge not to vote for pro-war candidates.
The pledge states
"I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future war of aggression, a public position in his or her campaign."
The national poll found that overall, 45.9% of registered American voters agree with the pledge, while 20.1% strongly agree, and 25.8 % somewhat agree. Among Democrats, 67.1 percent agree - 33.3% strongly, 59.2 percent of Independents - 25.3 % strongly and even 25.7 % of Republicans agree - 5.5% strongly.
The poll was conducted by telephone March 9 to 13, 2006, by ICR Survey Research of Media, Pa., which also polls for ABC News, The Washington Post, and numerous corporations and research organizations. The margin of error is +/- 3.35 percent.
The poll reflected the results of numerous other polls regarding troop withdrawal, with a slight majority favoring withdrawal within a year (50.7% vs 41.4%) compared to waiting for the Iraqis to take over. As in other polls a plurality (46%), predominantly but not exclusively Democrat voters, asserts the invasion and occupation was not worth it.
"This poll demonstrates that anti-war voters are significant enough in size to affect the outcome of elections if they become organized," said Linda Schade, a spokesperson for VotersForPeace, which paid for the poll. "Just as pro-gun, pro-choice and pro-life groups have organized - now peace groups have identified their constituency, and can organize into a force that no longer can be ignored by candidates for Congress and President"
Schade said organized anti-war voters may help Democrats in particular to develop a stronger position against the war, as it is their voters who are most unwilling to vote for candidates who do not oppose the Iraq occupation. The Democrats may now realize that if they fail to represent the anti-war community, they will lose voters who may choose to stay home or to vote for alternative party and independent candidates.
Republicans also must respond to their anti-war constituency. Not only do more that 25% of Republican voters oppose candidates who support the war, but the fastest growing group of voters - independents - overwhelmingly support the pledge. More than 59% of independents say they agree with the pledge not to support pro-war candidates, and 25% strongly agree. That all-important swing voter can cause Republicans problems and could become a new source of support for Democrats - or even, for candidates running independent of the two parties.