35%April 17, 2007
A new Washington Post-ABC poll finds that 35 percent of Americans still believe the U.S. can win in Iraq. Those who don’t think the U.S. can win is put at 51 percent.
This roughly corresponds to the President’s approval rating which depending on which poll you are looking at is hovering in the low thirties.
I wonder how respondents understood that first question.
All told, do you think the United States will win or lose the war in Iraq?
Wellll…. “All told” now what does that mean? Does that mean that there would be no time/expense/troop level limits?
I’m as skeptical as the next guy but, if you told me we would send, say, 150,000 more troops to stay in Iraq another 5 years(and spent another trillion dollars) I would have to believe the situation would drastically improve, maybe even to the point where we could declare “victory.” (I’m assuming a Iraqi political solution could be wrought at some point.)
But, I doubt that is what most of that 35% had in mind.
I would have much rather seen asked something along the lines of:
Using the current plan(the surge), will the U.S. win or lose the war in Iraq?
Of course, the problem here is whether people have a basic enough understanding of that plan….
Why does this 35% matter anyway?
A profile today in the NYTimes of presidential candidate Sen. McCain gives us a clue:
[McCain] said that if the Bush administration’s plan had not produced visible signs of progress by the time a McCain presidency began, he might be forced — if only by the will of public opinion — to end American involvement in Iraq.
“I do believe that history shows us Americans will not continue to support an overseas engagement involving the loss of American lives for an unlimited period of time unless they see some success,” he added. “And then, when they run out of patience, they will demand that we get out.”
McCain is more aware of the growing impatience of the U.S. people than most. His strong stance on Iraq has cost him his frontrunner position for the Republican nomination.
He understands that just the public’s perception(misperception?) of the conflict can determine its outcome. He has blamed the media for this perception, he also blames the president.
“One of the things that I’m going to tell [President Bush], and I don’t often talk about my conversations with the president, is that the American people need to be told more often what’s happening,” he said. “Where we’re succeeding; where we’re failing; where we’ve made progress; where we haven’t, here’s the state of readiness, here’s why we continue to see suicide bombers.”
“There’s got to be more communication with the American people,” he added. “Franklin Delano Roosevelt did it.”
So is McCain a 35 percenter?
“I am not guaranteeing that this succeeds,” said Mr. McCain, who has long argued that additional troops were needed. “I am just saying that I think it can. I believe it has a good shot.”