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 yesterday.
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 with 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 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.”
House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said the poll showed that “most Americans want to win the war against al Qaeda in Iraq and, given what is at stake, they believe we must.”
“What they’re hearing from Democrats in Washington directly contradicts both that fundamental belief and the positive reports coming from our commanders on the ground in Iraq,” he said. “People know when they’re being sold a bill of goods, especially on something as important as this, and you’re seeing that reflected in the polls.”
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 repeatedly trumpeted over the past several months by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.
The poll confirmed for Mrs. Pelosi her view of “the increasing frustration many Americans have with this disastrous war,” said her spokesman, Drew Hammill.
She also blamed the public’s dim view of Congress’ handling of the war on “obstructionist tactics of Senate Republicans” that she said prevent Democrats from starting a troop withdrawal.
Congress’ job-approval rating reached a historic low of 18 percent in a recent Gallup Poll.
The Zogby survey showed Congress continuing that trend with a 3 percent approval rating for their handling of the war, the same rating recorded last month.
An overwhelming 95 percent of Democrats gave Congress a negative rating for handling the war, according to the poll.
The latest Rasmussen Reports poll showed just 2 percent of voters said Congress is doing an “excellent” job.
About 15 percent said Congress was doing “good” and 26 percent said “fair,” but 45 percent deemed its performance “poor,” according to the national telephone survey over the weekend of 1,200 likely voters.
The Zogby pollsters noted that Democrats’ skepticism of the war effort 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.