IBD/TIPP Poll: War Is Not Lost, And Victory Is Important
Contrary to the assessment of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, most Americans surveyed in the latest IBD/TIPP Poll do not believe the U.S. has lost the war in Iraq.
In fact, they believe the war is winnable and that victory is important. They are not against a timetable for withdrawal, but feel stabilization of the country should come first. They also believe that conduct of war should be left to generals, not Congress, and Congress' war authorization should not be repealed.
A majority (54%) of the 903 adults surveyed last week disagree with Reid's assessment that the war is lost, with 30% disagreeing "strongly." Meanwhile, 78% say Iraq should be stabilized before troops are withdrawn. Fully 48% believe this is "very important."
In fact, our poll shows this concept appeals not only to Republicans, 91% of whom agree with it, and Independents (80%), but to a solid majority of Democrats (66%). Even those who believe we have lost the war believe stabilization is important.
Stabilization takes on added importance considering that the president does not favor a deadline. Such a deadline, he said recently, would be setting a deadline for failure. But a majority of Americans (54%) do not agree with him on this point. While most Republicans (62%) oppose a deadline, 65% of Democrats and 56% of Independents prefer that one be set.
Staying in Iraq, however, is contingent on our ability to affect a positive outcome. Can we do it? If you ask the president, the answer is "yes," and his optimism that the U.S. will succeed in Iraq is shared by 56% of the public.
But that percentage is down from 58% in February, when we asked the same question, and 60% last December. Only 42% of Democrats and 49% of Independents think we'll succeed, next to 80% of Republicans.
Similarly, 61% of Americans believe victory in Iraq is "important," compared with 65% in February and 66% in December. Independents (61%) align with Republicans (84%) here vs. 44% of Democrats who don't think victory is important.
When moderator Brian Williams asked, "Do you believe there is such a thing as a global war on terror," only four of the eight candidates - Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson and Christopher Dodd — raised their hands. John Edwards, Joe Biden, Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel kept their hands down.
Americans don't buy that, however. Two-thirds think we're fighting a global war on terror, including 52% of Democrats, 81% of Republicans and 65% of Independents.
Our poll also reveals a potential for backlash if Congress projects its authority on how the war is conducted. In fact, Americans are decidedly against Congress' meddling. Asked whom they'd like to see the president rely on more for advice on the conduct of war, fully 71% preferred field commanders and just 23% favored Congress.
What's more, any meddling may be perceived as motivated by political gain rather than by genuine concern. Sen. Clinton, for example, recently called for a repeal of the authorization the Congress gave the president to go to Iraq. But nearly three of five (59%) of those polled believe that any such proposal would send the wrong signal to our troops.
Talk Show America 5/15/2007