This number has held steady since spring even as casualties have mounted, though it was higher on average in 2003. And it comes, as noted, even though seven in 10 Americans term the level of U.S. casualties in Iraq "unacceptable," up 26 points since June 2003.
Moreover, the majority's commitment to maintaining order in Iraq comes at a time of greater doubt that this goal is getting closer. Fewer than half, 44 percent, see significant U.S. progress toward restoring civil order in Iraq, down from 51 percent last summer.
The public divides, 48 percent to 44 percent, on whether there's been significant progress on another front, establishing a democratic government in Iraq. Fifty-eight percent say Iraq is not ready for the scheduled elections to be held -- and 54 percent don't think there will be honest elections with a fair and accurate vote count.
|Is Iraq ready for elections?||34%||58|
|Should they be held as scheduled?||60||34|
|Will they be honest and fair?||36||54|
|Confident they'll produce a stable government?||44||54|
As noted, the number of Americans who now say the war was not worth fighting is at a new high, up seven points from July. It's changed most sharply among younger adults.
In evaluating this now-majority view that the war was not worth fighting, it's notable that the public is approaching an even division on another crucial question -- whether the war did or did not contribute to long-term U.S. security.
Today 51 percent say it did, but 46 percent say it did not -- matching the closest division to date on this question. In late 2003, by contrast, the public by a 28-point margin said the war had contributed to long-term U.S. security, its fundamental rationale.
Also, just 27 percent now say the war has contributed "a great deal" to U.S. security, the fewest to date, although it's never been high, peaking at 34 percent a year ago.
Has Iraq War Contributed to Long-Term Security?
|Now||2 Years Ago|
Another security-related result brings better news for the administration: A sizable majority, 69 percent, think U.S. intelligence-gathering will be improved by the new intelligence structure created by legislation Bush signed last week. But this, too, is tempered: Just 18 percent think it'll improve the situation "a great deal."
|Sampling, data collection and tabulation for this poll were done by TNS.|