New Bush Iraq Plan Fails to Bolster American Confidence

ByABC News
January 11, 2007, 4:36 AM

Jan. 11, 2007 — -- Americans broadly reject President Bush's plan for a surge of U.S. forces into Iraq, with substantial majorities dismissing his arguments that it'll end the war more quickly and increase the odds of victory, an ABC News/Washington Post poll finds.

Indeed, rather than Bush bolstering public confidence, the national survey, conducted after his address to the nation on his new Iraq strategy, finds that a new high -- 57 percent -- think the United States is losing the war. Just 29 percent think it's winning.

These and other results underscore the depth of the challenge Bush faces in reversing public skepticism on Iraq. While 61 percent of Americans oppose his proposal to send more than 20,000 additional U.S. military forces there, 36 percent support it. Fifty-eight percent continue to say the war was not worth fighting -- essentially unchanged from a month ago -- while 64 percent disapprove of how he's handling the situation.

Barely three in 10 accept Bush's assertion that a troop increase now will end the war more quickly; instead two-thirds think it won't make much difference in the length of the conflict (48 percent) or instead will prolong it (19 percent). Similarly, while 36 percent think the surge will make victory more likely, more than six in 10 say it either won't change the odds of victory (53 percent) or will even make them worse (10 percent).

Intensity of sentiment, as well, is heavily against Bush. Just a quarter of Americans "strongly" support his proposal to send additional forces to Iraq; by contrast twice as many, 52 percent, strongly oppose it.

Nor do most Americans express faith in the Iraqi government, whose performance Bush portrayed as central in his strategy. Fifty-seven percent say they're not confident in the ability of the Iraqi government to meet its commitments in the effort to restore civil order.

Seven in 10, moreover, say U.S. military and economic aid to the Iraqis should be tied to their meeting performance benchmarks in stabilizing the country politically and economically -- a requirement Bush himself did not propose.

Notably, agreement on this question crosses partisan lines -- about seven in 10 Republicans, Democrats and independents alike agree on tying aid to performance by the Iraqi government.