USA TODAY - August 9, 2005
Poll shows most Americans feel more vulnerable
By Richard Benedetto
American attitudes toward the war in Iraq continue to sour in the wake of last week's surge in U.S. troop deaths, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll shows.
An unprecedented 57% majority say the war has made the USA more vulnerable to terrorism. A new low, 34%, say it has made the country safer. The question is critical because the Bush administration has long argued that the invasion of Iraq was undertaken to make the USA safer from terrorism.
The poll of 1,004 adults, taken Friday through Sunday, also finds that one in three say the United States should withdraw all troops from Iraq - another new high. The proportion that support maintaining troop levels or sending more troops also rose a bit, to 41%. The survey's margin of error is +/-3 percentage points.
G. Terry Madonna, a pollster at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., says support for the war is eroding in large part because the public sees no end to the U.S. military involvement there.
Asked about the conflict's progress, 56% say the war is going badly; 43% say it is going well.
American University political scientist James Thurber says deteriorating public views of the war are pushing the administration to produce a timetable for troop withdrawals.
Democrats were quick to use the sobering news last week of the deaths of 14 Marines in a single roadside bomb attack to renew calls for President Bush to produce "a clear plan" for the situation in Iraq. "The president needs to answer questions," Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said in a statement.
A 54% majority say going to war in Iraq was a mistake, equaling highs measured last summer when insurgent attacks were increasing. The same proportion say the war was not "worth it." A majority of Americans have expressed that view since last October.
The poll put Bush's job approval at 45%, near his record low of 44% late last month.