A new joint poll by CBS News and The New York Times shows that public support for the original invasion of Iraq has risen by a fifth - from 35 percent to 42 percent of those surveyed - over the past two months.The surge strategy is showing great promise in Iraq. The question is whether there's enough political will in Washington to support the troops on the ground while they finish the job they've begun.
Moreover, there's been a similarly startling drop in those who say the war is going badly, from 45 percent to 35 percent. The number of those who say the war effort is going well is up by about a quarter, from 23 percent to 29 percent.
Back in May, in other words, twice as many Americans thought the war was going badly as thought it was going well. Now the numbers are only a few points apart.
To be sure, the poll shows overwhelming support for a reduction of U.S. forces in Iraq or a complete withdrawal. That's hardly surprising, given the spate of negative reporting from Iraq and the lack of political progress.
So what has changed over the past two months?
Reports from Iraq say that the troop surge is gaining real traction. Indeed, there has been a significant drop-off in suicide bombings. All of which suggests strongly that support for the Iraq effort has long been directly linked to the actual state of the military situation.
Another likely factor: The public's renewed appreciation that the insurgency is linked both to Iran and al Qaeda.
Sure, Americans have serious qualms over the way the war has been prosecuted - and particularly with the seeming inability of the nascent Iraqi government to begin shouldering its share of the military burden.
That's entirely understandable - and not unjustified, either. Even the fiercest pro-invasion partisans are disappointed over what has happened in Iraq since Saddam Hussein was toppled.
But if, in fact, Americans increasingly understand that the invasion of Iraq was justified, that has tremendous political implications for Campaign 2008.
The Democratic presidential candidates, who are falling all over themselves touting their anti-war credentials, may find that running a "Bush lied and thousands died" campaign doesn't resonate as well with voters as they now hope.
If that's the case, it hopefully also holds true that Americans won't allow the Democratic-controlled Congress to undercut the troops by forcing them to cut and run before their mission can be accomplished.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
The Surge is Gaining Traction in Public Opinion
Today's New York Post highlights a little noticed trend in public opinion polling on Iraq. The Bush administration's new surge strategy is working, and public support for the deployment has been moving upwards as a result:
Posted by Donald Douglas at 6:59 AM