War Support Down, Even Among Republicans

CNN political analyst Bill Schneider reports on a new CNN-Opinion Research poll showing that, “Public support for the war in Iraq has fallen to a new low. Not only that, but Republican support is beginning to waver.”

In the latest CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday, 69 percent of those polled believe things are going badly in Iraq. Seventeen percent think the situation is improving.

Thirty percent of Americans polled say they favor the war, the lowest level of support on record. Two-thirds are opposed.

Anti-war sentiment among Republican poll respondents has suddenly increased with 38 percent of Republicans now saying they oppose the war.

Moreover, 63 percent of Americans are ready to withdraw at least some troops from Iraq. Forty-two percent of Republicans agree.

Fifty-four percent of Americans do not believe U.S. action in Iraq is morally justified.

Dire findings, indeed, although not particularly surprising. We’ve had four years plus of almost steady bad news, over 4000 Americans killed, and little to indicate that we’re about to turn the corner.

Oddly, though, none of the graphics CNN provides gives us much to go on; nor are any party breakdowns given beyond the story text. The poll results document [PDF] they provide is rather unhelpful in assessing the findings.

This, though, is interesting:

Iraq Policy Trends CNN Poll (small)
Click for larger image

The trend is steadily toward withdrawal, with 63% wanting to get some or all troops out compared to only 33% wanting to stay the course or increase troop levels. Indeed, slightly more people want to withdraw all troops than to stay.

What’s interesting, though, is that, with the exception of a couple periods of euphoria following major events (the toppling of Saddam’s regime, the holding of elections) there has always been a fairly large contingent in that camp. The first poll in their trendline, taken in August 2003, had 46% in the withdraw some/all column. There was a bare majority for that position in June 2004, shortly before President Bush’s reelection, although that dropped considerably right before the election.

It’s also noteworthy that, despite all the people who say that the problem is that we didn’t send enough troops to Iraq to get the job done, the peak of support for that position was only 33% (April 2004). At that moment in time, 37% wanted to withdraw.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Public Opinion Polls, , ,
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.

Comments

  1. Boyd says:

    …despite all the people who say that the problem is that we didn’t send enough troops to Iraq to get the job done, the peak of support for that position was only 33% (April 2004). At that moment in time, 37% wanted to withdraw.

    …which just means that those who felt we should have started with more troops have always been a fairly small minority.

  2. So the proverbial man and woman on the street are now expected to have well formed opinions on troop levels? Where’s the question, “Do you want to win or lose?” That would seem to be somewhat more important and more amenable to a legitimate response than asking people with little actual knowledge of and experience with military tactics and logistics about whether troop levels should rise or fall.

  3. Andy says:

    more amenable to a legitimate response than asking people with little actual knowledge of and experience with military tactics and logistics about whether troop levels should rise or fall.

    Well, I’m guessing that your average person with little actual knowledge of and experience with military tactics and logistics could have done a better job than the ideologues in the White House and DoD who prevented post war planning. In fact, my dog probably could have worked things out more intelligently.

    “Should we have enough troops to secure the dozens of known weapons caches?”
    “Woof!”

    See?

  4. ken says:

    Where’s the question, “Do you want to win or lose?”

    You still don’t get it, do you? The war on Iraq was lost the moment it was launched. It was lost because the American people will not support a war based upon lies and deceit.

    It is all over except the for politics of it all. Who gets blamed? That is the only question that remains at this time.

    The conservatives, who are responsible for putting America into a war based upon lies, want to spin it to put the blame the American people for losing the war on Iraq. The American people are too weak they think, the American people are too dumb they thing, the American people are too liberal they think.

    But the American people know that this war had no legitimacy from the very start. We know it is lost. And we know who is responsible for lying us into initially supporting the invasion.

  5. G.A.Phillips says:

    Ken,

    now how would one of the greatest Uberdonkey poopmaster’s such as yourself ever be tricked into something by this incompetent and totally illegitimate administration?

    Andy,

    you mean like the average Joe, truly patriotic, care only for the little guy, can’t do no wrong, liberal leaders in the government who voted to for this war and then started to undermine it for political gain the next day?

  6. brainy435 says:

    Dire findings, indeed, although not particularly surprising. We’ve had four years plus of almost steady bad news, over 4000 Americans killed, and little to indicate that we’re about to turn the corner.

    Where’d you get this number?

    “There have been 3,850 coalition deaths — 3,568 Americans, two Australians, 153 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, one Czech, seven Danes, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Fijian, one Hungarian, 33 Italians, one Kazakh, one Korean, three Latvian, 20 Poles, two Romanians, five Salvadoran, four Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and 18 Ukrainians — in the war in Iraq as of June 27, 2007, according to a CNN count.”
    http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2003/iraq/forces/casualties/

  7. jeff b says:

    It’s nice to know that “Uberdonkey poopmaster” is not enough to trigger the famous site policies.

    Brainy435: I believe the 3568 Americans is counting only military, not bureaucrats, journalists, and other civilians.

  8. James Joyner says:

    Where’d you get this number?

    […]

    Brainy435: I believe the 3568 Americans is counting only military, not bureaucrats, journalists, and other civilians.

    jeffb’s right, so I’m technically correct. I just pulled the number out of my, er, head, though without bothering to look it up.

  9. Thank you Ken for helping me to understand that it isn’t about winning or losing but instead who to blame. The scales have fallen from my eyes.

  10. ken says:

    Your welcome Charles,

    Now that you know what is going on are you going to blame the American people for losing the war or are you going to put the responsibility where it belongs – squarely on those who lied us into this war?

  11. jukeboxgrad says:

    philips: “how would one of the greatest Uberdonkey poopmaster’s such as yourself ever be tricked into something by this incompetent and totally illegitimate administration?”

    It’s wrong to suggest that Bush et al are universally incompetent. Lying effectively is actually one of the few things they’re good at. Or used to be. It’s hard to remember, but there used to be a time when most Americans trusted him. Live and learn. Fool me once etc.

    “liberal leaders in the government who voted to for this war”

    Here’s one of many important facts that your group loves to sweep under the rug: most Ds in the House voted against the war. In the Senate, about 40% managed to do the right thing, resisting the lies that were being fed to them via the White Paper and other means.

    “and then started to undermine it for political gain the next day”

    Folks like Lugar are now finally starting to say the kind of things that Howard Dean was castigated for saying in 2004 (and you could draw a similar comparison between, say, Joyner, and, say, Markos). Does that mean that Lugar is now trying to “undermine it for political gain?” IOKIYAR.

    By the way, please note what you’re implying: that even though the GOP controlled the White House and the Congress, they couldn’t manage to run the war effectively because they were afraid that Ted Kennedy, Cindy Sheehan and Barbra Streisand were going to say something mean about them. In what way are people like this responsible for the numerous mistakes Bush made? It’s nice to discover how the party of accountability defines accountability: blame everyone except the people in charge.

  12. jukeboxgrad says:

    jeff: “I believe the 3568 Americans is counting only military, not bureaucrats, journalists, and other civilians.”

    Another very important category is left out: mercenaries. Hundreds of US mercenaries (Blackwater etc) have been killed. This is part of your “other civilians,” but it should be mentioned specifically.

    Also, it’s worth remembering that we have over 25,000 wounded. Modern technology means that we have, compared to prior wars, a lot of people in the wounded category who, in a prior war, would have ended up in the killed category. Of course it’s great that we managed to save these lives, but from the crass perspective of economics it’s important to realize that we’re not accounting for the cost of taking care of a lot of brain-injured people who are likely going to survive for another 30-60 years (this cost is many times larger than a death benefit). And the true cost of that is very easy to underestimate, because it involves both physical health and mental health, and it involves both the individual as well as family members. Another hidden cost is the opportunity cost associated with the fact that these people will not be supporting the economy as producers.

    It’s for reasons like this that the true, ultimate, cost of the war is measured in trillions. It won’t take years to pay for it; it will take generations.

  13. jukeboxgrad says:

    charles: “Thank you Ken for helping me to understand that it isn’t about winning or losing but instead who to blame.”

    That isn’t Ken’s idea; it’s Bush’s. If Bush really wanted to ‘win,’ he would have the courage to call for a draft, and send the half-a-million troops that was obviously needed all along (along with a massive industrial mobilization so that they can be properly equipped; we actually know how to build vehicles that are IED-proof, we’re just too cheap to do it, and we decided that giving Paris Hilton a tax cut was much more important). That’s the only way to ‘win,’ at this point. But obviously Americans and our leaders have no interest in paying the true price required to ‘win.’

    Dubya’s current strategy is simply to run out the clock. He’s just delaying the day of reckoning, so it’s his successor, not him, who has to deal with the heat of pulling out (and preside over the potential memorable helicopter scene on the roof of the embassy). Then Bushists will forever claim that his successor, not him, is who “lost” the war. And that if we had only ‘surged’ for another twenty or thirty minutes, the avalanche would have suddenly started running uphill, instead of downhill. Some people also believe in the tooth fairy.

    Sacrificing troops this way to avoid blame is fairly called treason.