Iraq and Public Opinion: The Troops Come Home

Dec 14, 2011

More than eight years after U.S. troops entered Iraq, the United States military – with the exception of a few troops connected with the U.S. Embassy – will leave the country by the end of 2011. The public is overwhelmingly supportive of this action, with fully 75% saying in a national poll conducted in November by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press that they approve of President Barack Obama's decision to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of the year. Nine-in-ten Democrats approve of that decision while Republicans are divided. Independents support the decision by more than four-to-one (79% to 18%).

In the most recent national poll, a majority of Americans (56%) say the United States has mostly succeeded in achieving its goals in Iraq. The original decision to use military force, by contrast, remains contentious.

This is far different from the start of the war. In March 2003, 72% said it was the right decision while 20% said it was the wrong decision.

Throughout much of the past decade, there has been substantial skepticism that the war in Iraq improved America's security. In a national survey conducted just before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, 31% of the public said U.S. involvement in Iraq increased the chances of another terrorist attack here, and 39% said it made no difference. Just 26% said the war in Iraq has lessened the chances of another attack.

Read the full report, Iraq and Public Opinion: The Troops Come Home, on the Pew Research Center's Web site.

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