Iraq War public opinions compiled

The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, has compiled the latest public opinion surveys on the Iraq War, which readers may find interesting as the U.S. enters into the sixth year of the war.

Here’s the press release, which lists the highlights and links to the study:

AEI Public Opinion Study: Public Opinion on the Fifth Anniversary of the Iraq War

Just prior to the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, American Enterprise Institute senior fellow and public opinion expert Karlyn Bowman releases an updated collection of survey data on attitudes about the war in Iraq. This AEI Public Opinion Study entitled “Public Opinion on the War with Iraq,” is the most comprehensive collection of surveys on the topic from major pollsters. Among the highlights:

  • Strong majorities, 59 percent in Gallup’s latest survey, say that the war in Iraq was a mistake. Virtually the same percentage of Americans, 60 percent from the same late February 2008 Gallup survey, also say that we should set a timetable for removing troops from Iraq. Policymakers should not jump the gun though. Only a small fraction of Americans — around 20 percent in most polls — support immediate withdrawal.
  • In the Pew Research Center’s latest February 2008 survey, the country was evenly split with 48 percent of the country saying that U.S. military effort in Iraq was going very/fairly well and 48 percent also saying it was going not too/not at all well. This is a marked improvement from this same time last year. One possible explanation comes from the same Pew survey which broke down specific areas of concern in Iraq such as training Iraqi security forces, reducing civilian casualties, establishing democracy, etc. In every category, the percentage saying that the United States was making progress had increased from its previous asking last fall.
  • Pluralities of Americans believe that the surge is making progress. In Gallup’s latest survey, 40 percent said the surge was making the situation better in Iraq, 38 percent said it was making no difference, and 20 percent said it was making things worse. This is up substantially from July 2007 when only 17 percent said the surge was making the situation better, 49 percent said it was having no impact, and 30 percent said it was making things worse.
  • President Bush continues to receive very low marks for his handling of the war. In the most recent CBS News/New York Times survey, 31 percent approved of his handling of the situation with Iraq. Generically, Democrats lead the Republicans as the party better able to handle the situation in Iraq. Specifically, John McCain leads Hillary Clinton and separately, Barack Obama, as the candidate who could do a better job there.

To read the full study and for more historical and current data on many different aspects of the war, in addition to these selected highlights, please go to: http://www.aei.org/publicopinion2

Lisa Vorderbrueggen