02/15/2007 - Public support for the war in Iraq continues to decline, as a growing number of political independents are turning against the war, according to the latest Pew Research Center findings. Overall, a 53% majority of Americans believe the U.S. should bring its troops home as soon as possible – up five points in the past month and the highest percentage favoring a troop pullout since the war began nearly four years ago.
Confidence in a successful outcome in Iraq, which remained fairly high last year even as perceptions of the situation grew negative, also has eroded. The public is now evenly divided over whether the U.S. is likely to achieve its goals in Iraq – 47% believe it will definitely or probably succeed, while 46% disagree. Three months ago, 53% saw success as at least probable and 41% disagreed.
The latest nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Feb. 7-11 among 1,509 Americans, paints a bleak picture of public opinion about the war. Fully two-thirds of Americans (67%) say things are not going well with the U.S. military effort in Iraq, and solid majorities say the U.S. is losing ground in preventing a civil war (68%), reducing civilian casualties (66%), and defeating the insurgents militarily (55%).
In recent surveys, independents had been fairly evenly split over whether to bring the troops home. In January, 47% favored a troop withdrawal while 49% said the troops should remain in Iraq until the situation there is stabilized. But in the current survey, 55% of independents say they favor bringing the troops home as soon as possible, compared with 40% who believe the troops should remain. More Democrats also support a troop withdrawal than did so in January (74% now, 66% then). By contrast, Republicans have been unwavering in their support for keeping the troops in Iraq. By roughly three-to-one (71%-23%), Republicans believe that U.S. forces should remain in Iraq until the situation there is stable, which is nearly identical to opinion among Republicans in January.
Read full article War Support Slips, Fewer See Positive Outcome, New Poll Also Finds Growing Pessimism about Deficit, Rich-Poor Gap on the Pew Research Center Web site.