Sheehan's received broad exposure -- three-quarters of Americans have heard or read about her -- and gets majority sympathy; 53 percent support what she's doing and 52 percent think Bush should meet with her again, as she's requested. Her supporters are very predominantly those who, like her, oppose the war.
All the same, Sheehan does not appear to have changed the basic equation -- or many minds. Nearly eight in 10 Americans say she hasn't changed their view of the war; among the rest, about as many say they're more likely to support the war because of Sheehan as say they're more likely to oppose it, 10 percent vs. nine percent, respectively.
Neither has Sheehan ratcheted up emotional responses to the Bush administration's work on the war. Fifty-three percent are dissatisfied, about the same as in late June. That includes 27 percent who are "angry" about it, again quite similar to the level of anger two months ago, pre-Sheehan.
Sheehan, whose son was killed while serving in Iraq, also raises the question of the views of military families. Ten percent in this survey say they or a member of their household are serving in the military, either on active duty or in the reserves. In general, the views these people hold on the war are very similar to those of people in non-military households.
Household Support of War
|More likely to support war||22%||8%|
|More likely to oppose it||17||9|
|No effect on views||59||81|
Similarly, basic views of Sheehan are no different among people in military families than in non-military households -- a little more than half in both groups support her, and about half in both groups think Bush should meet with her.
Still, Sheehan looks to have touched more of a nerve in military households; such people are more apt to say she's affected their opinions, about equally in both directions. Twenty-two percent say she's made them more apt to support the war, 17 percent say she's made them more apt to oppose it. That compares to eight and nine percent, respectively, in non-military households.
Views on what to do now in Iraq are in some ways conflicted. On one hand, the number of Americans who say U.S. forces should remain until civil order is restored, even if that means sustaining continued casualties, has slipped slightly to 54 percent, compared with 57 to 58 percent the past year. That likely reflects the obvious difficulties that restoring civil order there entails.
At the same time, the public continues to divide about evenly on whether the United States is or is not making significant progress restoring order in Iraq -- no change there. And support for increasing the number of U.S. forces actually has increased slightly, albeit just to 21 percent, up from 15 or 16 percent in March and June polls.
About twice as many, 41 percent, say U.S. troop levels should be decreased. But that remains under a majority, and many fewer -- 13 percent -- call for an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces in Iraq. That's been steady since spring. And even among people who strongly oppose the war, fewer than three in 10 want a complete, immediate withdrawal.