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November 28, 2007

More on the Surge Poll

Goldfarb teases a bit more out of the poll.

Perhaps most telling of all is a question Pew doesn't mention in its summary. When given an open-ended question--'What one word best describes your impression of the situation in Iraq these days'--the number one answer is 'improved/improving.' Just two months ago, the top answer was 'mess.' It's clear something big is happening.

Looking further, Jules Crittenden relies on the summary, and points out that there has been an 18 point swing in favor of the Iraq war since February. But a look at the poll data from November 2006 shows a swing of 32 points. That's because in that poll, just 32 percent said things in Iraq were going well, against 64 percent who said things were not. Today the figure is 48 to 48.

Similarly, support for a timetable for withdrawal has fallen dramatically--from 19 percent support in January to just 11 percent today. Remember that the next time a Democrat claims that the American people support their approach.

I find that finding hard to square with the finding Pew is pushing -- that 54% of Americans want us out of Iraq, with the unstated implication that we want out now, before achieving victory.

Across numerous questions -- are we preventing terrorists from basing in Iraq, etc. -- the poll shows large swings in public sentiment. One major finding is that the public just doesn't care about Iraq as much as it used to, so that what anti-war feeling there is is no longer as passionately felt -- save by the nutroots and their servants in Congress.

Clarification/Semi-Correction: The question as regards withdrawal, which I did not read myself, reads thus:

Q.32 Do you think the U.S. should keep military troops in Iraq until the situation has stabilized, or do you think the U.S. should bring its troops home as soon as possible?

That doesn't say "now" and it can be argued that "as soon as possible" can be interpreted as meaning "as soon as prudent, given the military stakes in Iraq." However, that reading is undermined by the fact that "as soon as possible" is contrasted directly with "until the situation is stabilized," and 54% opt for the choice that doesn't include the requirement of "stabilization."

So the poll does seem to suggest that a bare majority of Americans want us out prior to stabilizing Iraq/winning, despite the fact they also seem to think we're winning the war.

That is an odd finding, at least to me. But that seems to be what Americans are saying, based on this poll.

How that squares with the scant 11% support for a timetable for withdrawal I cannot see.

Thanks to Hubris for correcting me.

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posted by Ace at 03:34 PM

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