Americans Doubt Bush Will Change Course in Iraq

More generally, while 52 percent of Americans favor decreasing U.S. forces in Iraq, that includes only 15 percent who want them all withdrawn immediately – about the same number as those who favor the opposite tack of increasing the deployment. One-quarter say the current deployment should remain about the same. These numbers have been steady lately.

War and Approval

The root cause of Bush's woes is unmistakable -- his overall approval rating has moved in tandem with views of whether the war has been worth fighting. The two correlate almost perfectly, at .94, where 1 is an exact match.

The same sort of drop in approval occurred in Lyndon B. Johnson's presidency. His year-to-year decline in popularity as the country became enmeshed in Vietnam almost precisely matches Bush's year-to-year decline during the Iraq war. The parallels are striking.

Support for the war is down to Bush's base: Republicans, conservatives and evangelical white Protestants are the only groups in which majorities say the war is worth fighting. And in these groups, as in all others, majorities call the level of U.S. casualties unacceptable (77 percent overall say so, a new high, albeit, as in several other cases, by a single point).


While the ISG's proposals get bipartisan support, most other views are marked by the extreme partisanship of recent years. In one striking example, 75 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of independents think the administration intentionally misled the public on Iraq; 82 percent of Republicans think not.

Similarly, 69 percent of Republicans say the Iraq war was worth fighting; 65 percent of independents and 81 percent of Democrats say not. Bush retains a 77-percent overall job approval within his party, a number that plummets to 30 percent among independents and 12 percent among Democrats.

But all is not well even in Bush's base. His approval rating from Republicans specifically on his handling of Iraq has dropped from 77 percent in October to 65 percent now -- a single point off its low in May. And four in 10 Republicans think he's not willing enough to change course on Iraq. That soars to seven in 10 among independents, and among Democrats, even higher.


This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Dec.7-11, 2006, among a random national sample of 1,005 adults. The results have a 3-point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.

Click here for PDF version with full questionnaire and results.

Click here for more ABC News polls in our Poll Vault.

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