Poll: Low Support For Iraq Buildup

Poll: Low Support For Iraq Buildup
January 9th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Poll: Low Support For Iraq Buildup

Poll: Low Support For Iraq Buildup
USA Today
January 9, 2007
Pg. 1
Nearly half doubt goals achievable
By Susan Page, USA Today
WASHINGTON — President Bush will outline his "new way forward" in Iraq Wednesday to a nation that overwhelmingly opposes sending more U.S. troops and is increasingly skeptical that the war can be won.
A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday shows a daunting sales job ahead for the White House, which is considering a plan to deploy up to 20,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq.
Those surveyed oppose the idea of increased troop levels by 61%-36%. Approval of the job Bush is doing in Iraq has sunk to 26%, a record low.
"He certainly has the wind in his face," says Michael Franc, a former congressional aide now at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "But that's not to say if he were to pursue a change in policy that proved to be successful, that those numbers wouldn't flip."
Views of the war will be difficult to change with rhetoric alone, says Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland. And if the public expresses strong opposition to Bush's plan, he says, Congress "may feel emboldened to exert what control they have to stop or at least make it more difficult for the president to move forward."
The survey of 1,004 adults, which has a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points, shows Americans pessimistic about the war and inclined to hold Bush responsible.
Among key findings:
•Nearly half of those surveyed say the United States can't achieve its goals in Iraq regardless of how many troops it sends. One in four say U.S. goals can be achieved only with an increase in troop numbers.
•Eight in 10 say the war has gone worse than the Bush administration expected. Of those people, 53% say Bush deserves "a great deal" of blame; 41% place a great deal of blame on Iraqi political leaders.
•By 72%-25%, Americans say Bush doesn't have a clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq. Congressional Democrats fare only a little better: 66%-25%.
Even so, Democrats take control of Congress amid a wave of good feeling. By 2-to-1, Americans say they want congressional Democrats, not Bush, to have more influence over the direction of the nation.
The president's overall job approval rating is 37%, up 2 percentage points from mid-December.
White House spokesman Tony Snow parried with reporters Monday over congressional and public opposition to the idea of sending more troops.
"I think the public opinion and public support is a very important part of this, and it is not static," he said. "You know, this is going to be fairly complex, and it's going to take people a little bit of time to think through, and we will spend a lot of time talking about it because it's important to do so."
While Bush has often said his war strategy won't be based on polls, three of four Americans say the government's decisions on Iraq ought to be influenced at least a moderate amount by what the public wants.
Views on increased troop levels differ sharply by party. Even among Republicans, though, 30% oppose the idea; 67% support it. Independents are against it by nearly 2-to-1. Democrats oppose it, 85%-12%.
And there is a yawning gender gap: 69% of women oppose an increase, compared with 52% of men.

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