CBS News Poll: More Americans Want Out of Iraq After Petraeous Testimony

So either that MoveOn.org ad was damn effective or most of America doesn’t understand military ethos; which is it?

(CBS) Most Americans continue to want troops to start coming home from Iraq, and most say the plan President Bush announced last week for troop reductions doesn’t go far enough, according to a CBS News poll released Monday.

While the president spoke of a long-term commitment to Iraq in his nationally televised address, a time frame longer than two years is not acceptable to most Americans. Still, most of those polled expect large numbers of U.S. troops to remain in Iraq for many years to come.

Sixty-eight percent of Americans say that U.S. troop levels in Iraq should either be reduced or that all troops should be removed – similar numbers to those before Mr. Bush’s speech.

U.S. TROOP LEVELS IN IRAQ SHOULD BE…?

Now
Increased
6%
Kept same
21%
Reduced
39%
Remove all troops
29%

Pre-speech, 9/4-8/2007
Increased
11%
Kept same
19%
Reduced
35%
Remove all troops
30%

Nearly half want Mr. Bush to remove even more troops by next summer than he proposed in his address. Forty-seven percent say the plan to bring troop numbers down to pre-surge levels next year should go even further.

The poll also found that despite optimistic assessments of the U.S. troop surge by Mr. Bush and Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Americans are unconvinced that the surge is working.

Only about one in three (31 percent) said the surge has made things in Iraq better, while more than half (51 percent) say it’s had no impact. Eleven percent say it’s made things worse.

Overall, Americans remain pessimistic about the war. Just 34 percent think things are going well for the U.S. in Iraq, while 63 percent say things are going badly – about the same as before the president’s speech.

More than half of Americans (55 percent) believe that success in Iraq is unlikely, and nearly two-thirds (65 percent) think Mr. Bush’s assessments of the situation there are too rosy.

  6 comments for “CBS News Poll: More Americans Want Out of Iraq After Petraeous Testimony

  1. d'Anconia
    September 18, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    Dan-

    Considering the fact that the goal of the General’s testimony and the President’s speech was to sell the idea to the American public of slow withdrawal I believe this poll shows a success in this goal. Before the speech only 35% favored reducing troop levels while after the speech that number jumped to 39%.

    At the same time the number of Americans who want to pull ALL troops out of Iraq has decreased from 30% to 29%.

    Forgive me if I miss how this poll strenghtens your argument…

  2. September 18, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    Come on, now D’an… You’ve proven in your earlier comments that you understand politics pretty well. Even if I find your opinions misguided, playing dumb hardly suits you.
    I think you’ve seen enough polling in your day to understand the concept of MARGIN OF ERROR. Usually it’s +/- 2 or 3% so if a number moves within this number, the move is statistically meaningless. A move from 30 to 29 does not show a decrease. It could be a statistical anomaly. 35 to 39 is also barely a blip.
    The number supporting increase moving from 11 to 6 is more significant.
    Using your logic from an earlier thread in which the raw number of Democratic voters was more important than the percentage, you could say the number supporting a troop “surge” was HALVED.
    Or perhaps you would prefer to look at the numbers differently this time around?

  3. Dan Chmielewski
    September 18, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    There is no margin of error reported; read the detail after the numbers gentlemen.

  4. d'Anconia
    September 19, 2007 at 11:39 am

    Publius-

    You’re right, I don’t think it’s relevant for a poll number to move from 29 to 30 or even from 35 to 39.

    At the same time I find it disingeneous for Dan to phrase his post “More Americans Want Out of Iraq After Patreaus Testimony” as if the MoveOn.org ad or the testimony/speech factor had a negative effect on public opinion for the war.

    In Dan’s post he mentions “Sixty-eight percent of Americans say that U.S. troop levels in Iraq should either be reduced or that all troops should be removed – similar numbers to those before Mr. Bush’s speech. ”

    From the same poll analysis (not to mention it’s a CBS/CBS-New York Times poll comparison):

    “Just 34 percent think things are going well for the U.S. in Iraq, while 63 percent say things are going badly – about the same as before the president’s speech. ”

    In my opinion “similar numbers to those before Mr. Bush’s speech” and “about the same as before the president’s speech” doesn’t strenghten the argument that more Americans want out of Iraq due to the president’s speech, Patreaus’ testimony, or the MoveOn.org ad, which is what Dan was inferring to by saying “So either that MoveOn.org ad was damn effective or most of America doesn’t understand military ethos; which is it?”

  5. Dan Chmielewski
    September 19, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    Guys — I posted the numbers; you can quibble all you want, but basically two-thirds of Americans want us out of this debacle. If you have a problem with the numbers, ping CBS. The numbers and my take on it are accurate even if you want to nuance it to death.

  6. james
    September 19, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    Dan – the polling is with you. This is bad news for Bush’s endless war. And BTW a margin of error does not mean that movement that remains within it is meaningless. It indicates only reduced confidence. The number could be accurate but we can’t be certain. More importantly the movement in numbers for those supporting decreases or increases in troop levels is beyond a 2 or 3 percent margin. Those figures can be counted on as measuring real movement. It’s spurious to argue that this is good news for Bush’s “success” in Iraq campaign – by that logic, say, Bush’s arrest for DUI in the 1970s was “good news” for his political campaigns because there were no photo journalists around. I don’t think your critics are reading the polling correctly. cheers.

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