Kevin Drum makes some interesting observations on these things, ending with a reasonable question:

knowing what we know now, would the American public have supported this war? That’s starting to look more doubtful every day.

I agree that this is the ultimate question. So far, the answer would appear to be Yes.

Major polls, percent saying they approve of the war as of latest survey:

  • FoxNews (July 10): 65%
  • ABC News (July 11): 55%
  • CBS News (July 11): 55% support war, 54% say worth the cost, but some otherwise mixed results.

    (I’ve tried to find the CNN/Gallup and NBC polls on this without success. One would think the polling data would be more prominently featured on their sites.)

And, of course, Bush still has favorable ratings in all the major polls, although certainly not as high as they once were. But given a dull economy and the 50-50 electoral split, these numbers are rather impressive.

CBS News asks and answers a question that Kevin asks in my comments section:

How much difference did it make to the people watching?

At the time, the answer was “not much.”

The CBS News real-time assessment of the State of the Union address, conducted by Knowledge Networks, measuring the moment-by-moment reactions of a nationwide random sample of speech watchers, found almost no movement at all in favorable opinions while the president talked about that component of his argument for taking on Saddam Hussein.

In fact, as CBS News Correspondent Jane Clayson reported in the special report following the State of the Union message, reaction during the president’s discussion of Iraq was “muted.”

As was the case throughout the address, Republicans reacted more favorably than either Democrats or Independents.

The statement about uranium affected none of the three political groups, either favorably or unfavorably.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kevin Drum says:

    It’s early days, James….

    Of course, the real question (which can’t be answered) is whether the public would have supported the war *at the time* if the intelligence data had been presented more honestly. As it happens, public support for ousting Saddam has been around 60% for the past three years, so the answer might very well be yes. Whether that 60% would have held firm when the prospect of war actually became real is a very interesting question.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Certainly true. The CBS News polling site argues that the yellow cake thing had no impact at the time, which is likely true. Still, this is at best very sloppy.

  3. Paul says:

    Well, golly… that begs the question… “What do we know?”

    Well, so far we know that the President said something that was TRUE and the Brits are still standing behind. We know that a bunch of Dems went wild and suddenly found that a President lying was bad. (hypocrites)

    Maybe Keven would claim to know something we don’t. So far all I know is that the Dems are whining and the administration made the foolish mistake of giving one inch of ground rather than telling the Dems to blow it out their ear.

    Now– That is what we KNOW. What Kevin and others dream up, is a completely different story.

  4. Juke says:

    A good source of US polling information is . Whenever possible, they include the questions used in the poll as well as margins of error.