You have 15 minutes with the President: What do you tell him?

Hint —

Get us out of Iraq is what most Americans would say.  I know I would (and whether or not Dick Cheney’s name on alledgely on the DC Madam’s list as the “former CEO” who was a client; those records are sealed under gag order).

Here’s the scoop from Gallup:

May 31, 2007

What Would Americans Tell President Bush to Do About Iraq?

Majority would tell president to bring troops home from Iraq or develop exit strategy

by Frank Newport


PRINCETON, NJ — What would Americans say to President Bush if they could talk to him about the situation in Iraq for 15 minutes?

The majority of Americans — if they could literally file through the Oval Office and talk to the man they elected to be the top executive and commander in chief of the country — would tell President Bush to focus on developing an exit strategy from Iraq and removing U.S. troops from that country. A smaller group of one in four would tell the president to stay the course or even to be more aggressive in Iraq. Six percent would tell the president to own up to his mistakes in Iraq and apologize. About 7% would advise the president to work with study groups or the United Nations to figure out a solution to the Iraq dilemma. Only 5% would have nothing to say to Bush about what Americans’ currently rank as the nation’s most important problem.

The 15-Minute Question

These results are based on the verbatim responses to an open-ended question. The basic patterns of responses can be grouped given the following question wording:

There are several conclusions from these data:

  • The largest category of responses from the public — offered by a majority of 54% — would be to advise President Bush to focus on removing the troops from Iraq and exiting the country, leaving the situation in the control of the Iraqis. This includes 39% of Americans who would advise Bush to simply get U.S. troops out of Iraq now.
  • A second group, representing one-fourth of Americans, would advise the president to essentially “stay the course” or to be even more aggressive in the country’s military actions.
  • A smaller category would advise the president to work with others in finding a solution, including an advisory board or the United Nations.
  • Six percent would advise the president to admit his past mistakes and apologize.

Partisan Differences

There are significant differences by partisan orientation in the responses to this question in the current data:

There are also a couple conclusions from these data:

  • More than half of Democrats would tell President Bush to pull the troops out and/or to execute a well thought-out exit strategy. Another 8% would tell the president to admit his past mistakes.
  • Republicans, not surprisingly, are much more likely to say they would tell the president that he is doing a good job and to continue, and to be more aggressive in finishing what he has started. Still, 21% of Republicans would tell the president to pull the troops out, and another 9% would tell him to focus on an exit strategy.

Bottom Line

The majority of Americans, as measured in a number of Gallup Poll surveys this year, believe the initial decision for the United States to become involved in Iraq was a mistake. Research also shows a majority of Americans favor a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that Americans — if given the chance to talk with President Bush about Iraq — would be most likely to tell him to figure out a way to withdraw U.S. troops from there.

The president maintains the loyalty of a smaller group of Americans — one in four — who are supportive of his current actions or would even want him to be more aggressive.

The administration argues that the war in Iraq is a necessary part of the war on terror, and that it is imperative to succeed. The president and members of his administration have said repeatedly that any type of discussion of withdrawal or the setting of a timetable is unacceptable at this time and would be tantamount to failure. These arguments notwithstanding, however, the majority of the American public would instruct their president to focus on withdrawal of troops and the development of an exit strategy.  

Survey Methods

Results for this panel study are based on telephone interviews with 1,007 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted May 21-24, 2007. Respondents were drawn from Gallup’s household panel, which was originally recruited through random selection methods. The final sample is weighted so it is representative of U.S. adults nationwide. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.