That’s the good news: 54% of Americans polled don’t think that the war in Iraq is already lost. The bad news, though it’s hardly surprising, is that there is a massive split on this question along party lines.

While two in three Democrats (66%) said the war effort has already failed, just 9% of Republicans say the same.

The Petraeus report is due next month; if the Democrats in Vancouver are any hint, that 66% isn’t likely to change no matter what the General says. He could bring the head of Moqtada al-Sadr in a box and plop it down on the table in front of him, and it may not change a thing.

For more than three hours Monday night, Rep. Brian Baird was verbally flogged by hundreds of his constituents for no longer supporting the quick withdrawal of troops from Iraq…

While some people left the Vancouver meeting saying they respected Baird’s sincerity, the town hall had to have been a particularly brutal experience for the congressman. At several points, he pleaded with the crowd to let him finish his explanation. One woman told him the blood of the troops was now on his hands, and several said he was violating the wishes of his constituents.

“We don’t care what your convictions are,” said Jan Lustig of Vancouver. “You are here to represent us.”

Baird had just returned from Iraq, where he saw progress with his own eyes. His Democrat voters didn’t want to hear it.

Back to the poll. It holds some good news for Rudy Giuliani.

Asked which of the 2008 presidential candidates would best handle the war in Iraq, Rudy Giuliani topped the list with 14% support, followed by Fred Thompson (11%), Hillary Clinton (10%), Barack Obama (9%), John McCain and Joe Biden (7%), John Edwards (5%), and Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich at 4%. But overall, more Americans said they were unsure (15%) than supported any single candidate to best handle the war.

If you’re Bill Richardson, finishing between Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich can’t be heartening.

There’s one thing that nearly all Americans agree on: Congress stinks.

In this latest online poll, 27% give President Bush a positive rating on his handling of the war in Iraq, up slightly from 24% who gave the president favorable marks in July. While the President’s approval for his handling of the war showed slight gains, Congress remains stuck at just a 3% positive rating for its handling of the war, unchanged from polling last month. Congress faces overwhelming dissatisfaction among Democrats – 95% give Congress negative ratings for handling the war, compared to 94% who felt that way in July.

Who are those 3% who actually approve of the nonsense emanating from the Capitol?