Only 4 in 10 Americans Expect Victory in Iraq
David W. Moore
April 17, 2006
GALLUP NEWS SERVICE
PRINCETON, NJ -- American opposition to the war in Iraq appears to have steadied, with clear majorities saying that it was a mistake to send U.S. troops there, and that the United States will not win and should withdraw at least some, if not all, of its troops. Public approval of the way President George W. Bush has been handling the situation in Iraq is tied at the lowest level measured by Gallup.
These findings come from the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted April 7-9, 2006. It shows that 57% of Americans think the United States will not win in Iraq, including 21% who think the U.S. can win but will not.
Which comes closer to your view about the war in Iraq. [ROTATED: you think the U.S. will definitely win the war in Iraq, you think the U.S. will probably win the war in Iraq, you think the U.S. can win the war in Iraq, but you don't think it will win, (or) you do not think the U.S. can win the war in Iraq]?
Another 39% say the United States will win, divided equally between those saying it will "definitely" (20%) or "probably" win (19%). In a similar poll just over a month ago, 44% said the United States would win, and 52% said it would not.
Similarly, 57% of Americans say it was a mistake to send troops to Iraq, while 42% say it was not. Since December 2005, either a plurality or majority of Americans have said it was a mistake.
Only a third of Americans (33%) prefer to keep the same number of troops in Iraq as there are now, including 8% who would actually increase the number. But 64% of Americans would prefer to withdraw troops -- 36% say to withdraw "some" troops, while 28% want to withdraw all troops.
Given these negative views, it's not surprising that Bush's approval rating on the situation in Iraq is at only 32% -- tied for the lowest rating Gallup has measured since the first rating in October 2002.
Attitudes about Iraq are highly partisan, with the polarization figure (the difference between Republicans and Democrats) especially high on Bush approval, but also substantial on all the measures.
Just 20% of Republicans say the war is a mistake, compared with 64% of independents and 82% of Democrats.
Similarly, only 44% of Republicans, but 64% of independents and 81% of Democrats favor withdrawing some or all troops.
A majority of Republicans (61%) remain optimistic that the United States will win in Iraq, while 34% disagree. Among independents, opinion is reversed, with 58% saying the United States cannot win, and just 37% saying it can. Democrats take the more pessimistic view by 76% to 22%.
Seventy-three percent of Republicans approve of Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq, compared with just 22% of independents and 7% of Democrats.
Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,004 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted April 7-9, 2006. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is Â±3 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.