12/15/2005 - The political debate over the Iraq war has grown more pointed in recent weeks, as President Bush has embarked upon a series of high-profile speeches defending the war and Democratic Rep. John Murtha has made headlines with his calls for a withdrawal of U.S. forces. But fundamental public attitudes toward the war have not been changed in either direction by the clashing points of view. Pew's latest national survey shows that the public continues to be evenly divided about whether to withdraw U.S. forces as soon as possible or keep them in Iraq until the country is stabilized, as well as over the decision to take military action in Iraq.
Americans also have a mixed view of conditions on the ground in Iraq. Fully 61% of the public believes that progress is being made in training Iraqi forces, while nearly as many (58%) say the same about establishing a democracy in Iraq.
However, a 53% majority believes the U.S. is losing ground in reducing the number of civilian casualties in Iraq. Similarly, the public by 49%-36% believes that the U.S. is not succeeding in preventing a civil war between Iraq's ethnic and religious groups. There also is a close division of opinion about whether the U.S. is gaining or losing ground in defeating the insurgents militarily (44% making progress/41% losing ground).
Read the full report Public Unmoved by Washington's Rhetoric on Iraq on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.