Thursday, February 28, 2008

U.S. Will Succeed in Iraq, Poll Finds

I've long noted that public opinion on Iraq is far more complicated that the standard left-wing line that Americans want to "bring the troops home."

Indeed, not only are claims of a public demand for withdrawal unsupported, a
recent Pew Research poll finds that a majority of 53 percent of Americans sees the United States ultimately prevailing in the conflict. Here's some background from Hot Air:

In case you were wondering why the Democrats are running from this debate, it’s because the more public opinion shifts, the more their willingness to abandon Iraq looks less like a “realist” exit strategy than calculated defeatism. Even so, note how inelastic most of the results are despite the security gains (especially in Anbar). The microresults show impressive shifts — click the image and follow the link to see double digit swings in the “Growing Perceptions of Iraq Progress” graph — but the baseline results below are static. I wonder why.
Here's the Pew summary of results:

Public perceptions of the situation in Iraq have become significantly more positive over the past several months, even as opinions about the initial decision to use military force remain mostly negative and unchanged.

The number of Americans who say the military effort is going very or fairly well is much higher now than a year ago (48% vs. 30% in February 2007). There has been a smaller positive change in the number who believe that the U.S. will ultimately succeed in achieving its goals (now 53%, up from 47% in February 2007).
The polls have been moving in the right direction since last summer, but you wouldn't know it from the journalistic coverage.

Here's the Economist's latest on McCain, for example:

The success of the surge has done almost nothing to reduce Americans' desire to leave Iraq to the Iraqis.
This meme on the "demand" for withdrawal will continue, and I'll continue to debunk it.