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Support for Iraq War Dropping
Series of polls finds little confidence in Bush or Democrats
Voters want Democrats to stop the “surge” by withholding funding
Majority want withdrawal

By Kevin Zeese
Feb 23, 2007

If the message of November 7th wasn’t clear, a series of polls in January are – growing opposition to the Iraq war, majority support for removing the U.S. military and a super majority opposed to sending more troops. The public wants Congress to use the power of the purse to prevent an increase in troops in Iraq and to develop a time table for withdrawal. The polls find the country on the wrong track with little confidence in the leadership of the country, from either party, to get the United States on the right track.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll found Bush’s popularity is at an all-time low with only Presidents Nixon and Truman ever being lower. Bush's overall approval rating is 33%, matching the lowest it has been in Post-ABC polls since he took office in 2001. Equally telling is the finding that 51% of Americans now strongly disapprove of his performance in office, the worst rating of his presidency. Just 17% strongly approve of the way he is handling his job.

An Associated Press poll, released on January 22nd, found that 65% disapprove of Bush's handling of the Iraq War. A January 18th Newsweek poll found Americans were even more discouraged about Iraq, 70% disapprove Bush’s handling of the war, up from 63% in August.  And, 67% believe we are losing ground in Iraq with 64% believing it has not made the U.S. safer from terrorism. According to Post/ABC only 29% approve of Bush's handling of the Iraq war, which is only one percentage point off his career low recorded a month ago, and 70% disapprove. Similarly, Bush's approval rating on handling terrorism is at a near-low, with just 46% giving him positive marks and 52% negative marks.

UPI/Zogby asked the question a little differently in an interactive poll conducted from January 16th to 18th. They found that 55.2% rated Bush's Iraq performances as “poor,” 15.8% considered it “fair” and 21.5% said it was “good”; with only 7.1% said “excellent.” Even among military personnel, Bush didn't fare well with 48.1% saying his Iraq performance was “poor” and only 10.9% saying it was “excellent.”

According to Post/ABC nearly two-thirds of Americans say it was a mistake to go to war, the highest negative response since the war began. A January Bloomberg/LA Times poll found 62% believe the war was not worth it, up from 56% in December. AP reports only 35% support the war.  And, according to Post/ABC News 55% of Americans now say the president has not made the country safer, the first time a majority of the country has reached that conclusion.  More than three in five said that it is better to seek a solution to the Iraq conflict through diplomatic and political means, but three in four said they believe Bush is relying mostly on military means.

According to Post/ABC, for the first-time a majority, 52% would prefer to see U.S. forces withdrawn from Iraq to avoid further casualties rather than leaving them until order is restored. Bloomberg/LA Times found 65% support beginning to bring the troops home within the year and by 48% to 46% bringing the troops home rather than staying in Iraq until the situation has stabilized.  And, by a large majority 59% to 35% favor a time table for withdrawal, the same was found in the Pew Poll.

AP reports 70% oppose the so-called “surge,” and Newsweek reports 68% oppose Bush’s plan to increase troops and 50% want the troop levels reduced. Bush’s speech only slightly increased support for sending more troops, still an unpopular idea.  According to AP, almost one-third of the public, 31% favor the plan, an improvement from 26% in a survey done almost entirely before he spoke to the country January 10. The Post-ABC poll found 65% of Americans oppose sending more troops to Iraq; it was 61% immediately after the president unveiled the plan on January 10. Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll shows the public opposes Bush's decision to dispatch 21,500 additional troops by a margin of 61% to 31%.

According to the Post/ABC poll just 26% of Americans saying the country is heading in the right direction and 71% saying the country is seriously off track. That is the worst these ratings have been in more than a decade. AP reports that two-thirds of Americans, 66%, think the country is on the wrong track. That is about the same as a year ago, when 65% thought so, the poll found.  This is a reversal from mid-January 2002, when 68% said the country was on the right track and 29% thought it was going in the wrong direction.  Nearly two-thirds, 60%, have no confidence that Congress or the White House can work together to solve U.S. problems.

When it comes to the Democrats, according to the AP poll only four in 10 think the country will be better off with Democrats in charge of the House of Representatives and Senate, while 18% think it will be worse off and thirty-nine percent think it will not make much difference.  Bloomberg/ LA Times and the Pew Poll found that 70% didn’t think Bush had a plan to bring the war to successful completion but 68% didn’t think the Democrats did either.  The Post-ABC News poll found that a majority of Americans do not have confidence in the Democrats with 43% approving of the job Congress is doing, compared to 50% who disapprove. The Post/ABC poll did find more confidence in the Democrats by a margin of 60% to 33%.  

Voters want Congress to act, 59% of all Americans, including more than a quarter of Republicans, want Congress to block the president's plan to send more troops, according to the Post/ABC poll. Bloomberg/LA Times reports that by a landslide voters believe the Democrats should stop Bush’s surge by withholding funding, 69% to 22%.

The message of opposition to the Iraq War, expressed in the election on November 7th is seen even more clearly in polling since the election.  Indeed, the anti-Iraq war viewpoint of Americans is growing stronger.  And, there is definite opposition to Bush’s plan to increase troops in Iraq and a desire to see the Democrats take action to prevent the so-called surge. However, there is not a lot of confidence in the Democrats, no doubt if the Democrats “buy” Bush’s war by allowing the surge or approving the supplemental appropriation there will be even less confidence in the Democrats ability to get the country on the right track and end the war.

Kevin Zeese is Director of Democracy Rising (www.DemocracyRising.US) and a co-founder of VotersForPeace.US.

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