Gen. David Petraeus’ report to Congress and President Bush’s nationally televised address have had little impact on Americans’ distaste for the Iraq war and their desire to withdraw U.S. troops, polls show.
Fifty-four percent still favor bringing the troops home as soon as possible, a measurement that has not changed in months, according to a poll released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. And despite slight improvements in peoples’ views of military progress, more said the U.S. will likely fail in Iraq than succeed by 47 percent to 42 percent, about the same margin as in July.
Nearly half, or 49 percent, said Bush should remove more troops than he announced he would last week, when he said he would withdraw some forces but leave at least 130,000 in Iraq at least until next summer. Thirty-eight percent said Bush’s plan goes far enough.
Overall, two out of three said their views on the war had not been changed by presentations last week by Bush and Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.
In a separate survey by CBS News, fewer than a third said the roughly 30,000 additional troops Bush sent to the war zone this year have made things better, while the rest said they have had no impact or made things worse. That was similar to the findings of a CBS News-New York Times poll taken days before the remarks by Petraeus and Bush.
Only 22 percent said they are willing to keep large numbers of U.S. troops in Iraq longer than two more years, largely unchanged from the previous survey. Nearly half, or 49 percent, said they should stay less than a year while 23 percent said they should remain for a year or two.
Even so, people expect the troops to stay longer than they would like. Only a third said they believe large U.S. forces will be in Iraq for two years or less.
The Pew poll was conducted Sept. 12-16 and involved telephone interviews with 1,501 adults. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
The CBS News poll was conducted Sept. 14-16 and involved telephone interviews with 706 adults nationwide. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus four percentage points.