10/05/2006 - Iraq has become the central issue of the midterm elections. There is more dismay about how the U.S. military effort in Iraq is going than at any point since the war began more than three years ago. And the war is the dominant concern among the majority of voters who say they will be thinking about national issues, rather than local issues, when they cast their ballot for Congress this fall.
Pew's latest nationwide survey finds 58% of the public saying that the U.S. military effort in Iraq is not going well, and a 47% plurality believes the war in Iraq is hurting, not helping, the war on terrorism. The poll finds extensive public awareness of a leaked intelligence estimate suggesting that the war is spawning more terrorism. More than third of Americans (35%) say they have heard a lot about the intelligence report, and these people are much more likely than others to say the war in Iraq is hurting the war on terror.
The survey, conducted Sept. 21-Oct. 4 among 1,804 Americans, was in the field when news broke that former Rep. Mark Foley sent sexually explicit emails to House pages. The Foley story has not significantly affected the midterm race: In interviewing conducted before news of the scandal surfaced, Democrats led by 51%-38% among registered voters; in the days after Foley resigned, the Democratic advantage was unchanged (50%-37%). Similarly, the scandal's impact on opinions of GOP congressional leaders and the Republican Party's image for honest and ethical governance has been fairly limited.
Read the full article Iraq Looms Large in a Nationalized Election on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.