A majority of Americans say the United States can win the war in Iraq, but the country is sharply divided along party lines about every aspect of the war, according to a United Press International/Zogby poll released today.
The poll shows 54 percent of Americans said the war is not lost. However, among Democrats, 66 percent said the mission has failed already, compared to 9 percent of Republicans who shared that view.
The survey also showed the country split on the success of the U.S. troop surge ordered earlier this year by President Bush and on the wartime performance of the Democrat-led Congress.
“This is a portrait of a divided nation that is not easily going to be placated on this [war] issue,” said John Zogby, president of the polling firm. “It’s one thing to have a majority; it’s another when you look at how diametrically opposed Democrats and Republicans are.”
About 49 percent of voters said the troop surge was not working, while 45 percent said it had produced results, according to the online nationwide survey of 6,711 adults, conducted over the weekend.
Most Democrats — 86 percent — said the surge was failing, a view echoed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.
The pollsters noted that the skepticism of Democrats on the war was reflected by Mr. Reid’s remark in April that “this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything.”
Just 11 percent of Republicans said the surge was not effective, according to the poll.
Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid vow to push for a troop pullout regardless of the content of mid-September progress reports by Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ryan C. Crocker, U.S. ambassador to Iraq.
The report likely will include accounts of military advances this month that have increased security in and around Baghdad and modest progress by Iraqi leaders toward national reconciliation that could end sectarian fighting. However, the country is plagued by bloodshed, and Iraqi security forces are not ready to stand alone.
The poll showed that 43 percent of voters said the Democrat-led Congress is doing a worse job handling the war than the last Congress, run by Republicans.
Half of Democratic voters said there has been no change in Congress’ performance on the war despite the leadership switch, and 42 percent said their party is doing a better job. Just 6 percent of Democrats said their party was doing a worse job, the poll said.
The approval rating for Mr. Bush’s handling of the war increased slightly to 27 percent from 24 percent in Zogby’s July survey.
Congress’ approval rating is unchanged at 3 percent, with 95 percent of Democrats giving Congress negative rating for handling the war, according to the poll.