Not Buying Bush's Iraq scam Most Expect the Bush Report to Exaggerate Progress in Iraq, Most Wants Immediate Decrease in Troops, Bush at Lowest Approval Yet
Fifty-eight percent, a new high, said they want to decrease the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. And most of those who advocated a troop reduction said they want the drawdown to begin either right away or by the end of the year. A majority, 55 percent, supported legislation that would set a deadline of next spring for the withdrawal of American combat forces. That figure is unchanged from July.
Only about a third believed the United States is making significant progress toward restoring civil order in Iraq, most said the buildup has not made much difference, and a majority said they do not expect the troop increase to improve the security situation over the next few months. Just one-third were confident the Iraqi government can meet its political and security goals.
The public's baseline judgment on the war is little changed -- more than six in 10 said the war is not worth fighting, a sentiment that has been a majority view for nearly three years.
But though the public assessment of progress in Iraq remains largely negative, most expected Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, to express a rosier view when he begins his congressional testimony tomorrow. Only about four in 10 said they expect the general to give an accurate accounting of the situation in Iraq. A majority, 53 percent, said they think his report will try to make the situation in Iraq look better than it really is.
Overall, two-thirds of Americans said they believe Bush will hold to his current course no matter what. In a July Post-ABC News poll, nearly eight in 10 Americans, including a majority of Republicans, said the president was too intransigent on the war.
There remains only limited support for key elements of the administration's rationale for continuing the fight. Two-thirds said the risk of a terrorist attack occurring in the United States would be about the same whether U.S. forces stay in Iraq or withdraw, 54 percent said anti-terrorism efforts can succeed without winning in Iraq, and 52 percent said the Iraq war has not contributed to the long-term security of the United States.
Bush's general approval rating remained at 33 percent in this poll, equaling his career low. On Iraq, 34 percent approved of how he is handling the situation; 65 percent disapproved.