Pew: Majority of Americans see a successful conclusion in Iraq

posted at 9:31 pm on March 12, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Public confidence in the Iraq war has risen to its highest level in almost two years. Fifty-three percent now believe that the US will ultimately achieve its goals in Iraq, fifteen points higher than just six months ago, according to Pew Research:

American public support for the military effort in Iraq has reached a high point unseen since the summer of 2006, a development that promises to reshape the political landscape.

According to late February polling conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 53 percent of Americans — a slim majority — now believe “the U.S. will ultimately succeed in achieving its goals” in Iraq. That figure is up from 42 percent in September 2007.

The percentage of those who believe the war in Iraq is going “very well” or “fairly well” is also up, from 30 percent in February 2007 to 48 percent today.

The situation in Iraq remains fluid, of course. A surge in violence or in troop deaths could lead to rapid fluctuations in public opinion. But as the war nears its fifth year, the steady upturn in the public mood stands to alter the dynamics of races up and down the ballot.

Congressional Democrats seem to have already figured this out. They recently approved the entire appropriation request for operations in Iraq without making hardly a peep about it. It’s no coincidence that it’s the first time in two years they haven’t tried to hold it hostage for a retreat.

The big question will be how this affects the presidential race. Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have campaigned on their commitment to withdrawal, especially Obama, who has tried to position himself to Hillary’s left. That made sense in the beginning of the primary campaign, when the surge had yet to begin and the violence appeared to overwhelm the American mission in Iraq. Now, however, it looks more like a senseless surrender with success in reach.

It’s not just Republicans, either. Half of all independents now believe that the US needs to remain in place until the gains in Iraq have been secured. The one presidential candidate arguing that policy also happens to be the Senator who spent the last three years arguing for a better counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq. John McCain already had significant appeal for centrists and independents, and this makes his case even stronger.


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New York Times Memo to Reporting Staff: More negative stories on Iraq. Quick!

Rational Thought on March 12, 2008 at 9:38 PM

“… a slim majority …”

But it’s moving in the right direcion.

To you libs out there, answer honstly: If you could choose between Iraq succeeding and the dems losing the election OR Iraq falling apart and the dems winning the election, which would it be?

Tony737 on March 12, 2008 at 9:39 PM

I`m worried Sadr will end his next round of the cease fire in time for the general election.

So I`d advise extreme caution-brace yourselves.

ThePrez on March 12, 2008 at 9:40 PM

How this happened with absolutely no coverage by the MSM is astounding.

THE CHOSEN ONE on March 12, 2008 at 9:42 PM

This really sucks for Democrats.

Democrats are idiots.

They thought that a Democratic Congress would end the war in Iraq and they think a Democratic President will immediately end the war in Iraq. Nothing much wil change no matter who’s elected.

Democrats are idiots.

drjohn on March 12, 2008 at 9:42 PM

Tony737 on March 12, 2008 at 9:39 PM

Failure is not an option

Kini on March 12, 2008 at 9:43 PM

Pelosi and Reid are on a conference call right now.

SouthernGent on March 12, 2008 at 9:44 PM

ThePrez on March 12, 2008 at 9:40 PM

Sadr has his own self interest to worry about.

Squid Shark on March 12, 2008 at 9:47 PM

“We need to retreat before things get out of control and we win this thing.” – General Reid.

David in ATL on March 12, 2008 at 9:47 PM

Now, however, it looks more like a senseless surrender with success in reach.

That’s music to the ears of Democrats.

Success is something big government advocates frown upon. If the sheeple ever figure out they can achieve wealth and independence through hard work and success, the Dems would lose their brainnumb voting base they have always taken for granted.

For Democrats to succeed, success is not an option.

fogw on March 12, 2008 at 9:52 PM

Don’t get your hopes up. I hate it – but Obama still has a cast-iron lock on this race. Right or not – he has the passion and the numbers behind him. A LOT has to happen before this gets even close.

That being said – a lot CAN happen…

Dr. Gecko on March 12, 2008 at 9:55 PM

How this happened with absolutely no coverage by the MSM is astounding.

THE CHOSEN ONE on March 12, 2008 at 9:42 PM

Minimal positive coverage to be sure – but the negative story volume has been down, I think. Without the constant drumbeat of negativity, outlooks can only improve, even if the positive support isn’t there from the MSM (word gets out nonetheless, to an extent).

Midas on March 12, 2008 at 9:55 PM

I know one way the American people will know we’re winning. When Maverick gets on that stage with cut and run Obama and pounds him with a little straight talk.

THE CHOSEN ONE on March 12, 2008 at 9:56 PM

It’s possible that Ahmateenywad is getting his Shiite minions prepped for fresh action in Iraq, Israel, and here, even – to strike before November and ignite a Muslim/Western conflict to drive up oil prices even more, bring the free world economy to its knees, and influence the US election.

But here’s the big question I have – would not a big 9/11-scale terrorist strike or a big escalation of US deaths in Iraq work in McCain’s favor, thereby bolstering his case to be the next CinC?

Or, would a pointed de-escalation of hostilities over the next six months create a false western sense of security, thereby doing more to get Obama, the terrorists’ choice, elected?

Fishoutofwater on March 12, 2008 at 9:56 PM

Ironically, this news came in what’s probably the most violent week in the war so far this year.

Typhonsentra on March 12, 2008 at 10:03 PM

It looks like it’s time for CNN and MSNBC to aid and comfort the enemy again before we win.

Travis1 on March 12, 2008 at 10:03 PM

Fishoutofwater on March 12, 2008 at 9:56 PM

Patreus and company will handle that with great f’n prejudice.

THE CHOSEN ONE on March 12, 2008 at 10:03 PM

Ironically, this news came in what’s probably the most violent week in the war so far this year.

Typhonsentra on March 12, 2008 at 10:03 PM

Eh? What happened?

Math_Mage on March 12, 2008 at 10:30 PM

I wrote about this right when the survey came out. The left’s nihilists will continue to deny progress, of course:

http://americanpowerblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/us-will-succeed-in-iraq-poll-finds.html

Donald Douglas on March 12, 2008 at 10:40 PM

According to late February polling conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 53 percent of Americans — a slim majority — now believe “the U.S. will ultimately succeed in achieving its goals” in Iraq.

Do 53 percent of Americans even know what the goals in Iraq are anymore? Do the 53% all have the same idea as to what they are? Might not have been a bad idea to ask.

Personnaly, I think that the goals have allready been achieved.

WMD – check
Odai/Qusay – check
Saddam Hussein – check
Zarqawi – check
Elections – check

AQ in Iraq must be down to a few hundred to a thousand or so by now. Hundreds of thousand of Iraqi army and police and the Sunni tribesmen should be able to handle them. So what is left now, resolving whether Mohammed’s rightful successor was Umar or Ali?

MB4 on March 12, 2008 at 10:41 PM

The strange thing is….
If the war is going well it benefits McCain.
If there are multiple terrorist attacks in the world it benefits McCain.

I spend time on the kos website, know thy enemy and all, and they have the most pessimistic view of anyone I have ever met!
Health insurance companies are killing people, everyone is a racist if they say boo to Obama, we have “killed millions of innocent Iraqi’s”, no one can pay their rent and food bills etc.

The strange thing is, they all have computers, internet access, homes to blog out of, etc.
If they spent as much time working and trying to get ahead as they do bitching on that horrid site, they would be……Republicans!
HAHAHAHA!

ArmyAunt on March 12, 2008 at 10:42 PM

Eh, what happened?

http://icasualties.org/oif/

Look at the collection of news stories just from today. Hell, last week is looked like this might be the best month for us to date. Only two soldiers died in all of March before the weekend, then it spiked heavily.

Typhonsentra on March 12, 2008 at 10:48 PM

I would not be surprised, and I would also prepare for an increase in AQ activity as the presidential elections get closer. We already know they (AQ) uses democrat talking points and if they can make Iraq look bad it will bolster the anti-war frenzy groups. Short of an attack on American soil, I do expect something to happen.

Kini on March 12, 2008 at 11:13 PM

MB4 on March 12, 2008 at 10:41 PM

Your point being; what would the 8 track of
isolationist-libertarian policy like to see?

dmann on March 12, 2008 at 11:16 PM

Look at the collection of news stories just from today. Hell, last week is looked like this might be the best month for us to date. Only two soldiers died in all of March before the weekend, then it spiked heavily.

Typhonsentra on March 12, 2008 at 10:48 PM

Seriously? Damn.

Math_Mage on March 12, 2008 at 11:29 PM

Imagine that!

Its going to be fun if polls like this grow and the dems go into a split convention. Its pretty pathetic that they’ve put themselves in a position that they have to root for us to lose there.

eski502 on March 12, 2008 at 11:31 PM

Call me naive perhaps but maybe we really are just winning and the terrorists/insurgents/Iranians whoever just really do not want to open up a can o’ whoop-ass all over themselves.

HawaiiLwyr on March 12, 2008 at 11:33 PM

HawaiiLwyr on March 12, 2008 at 11:33 PM

That is the idea!

dmann on March 12, 2008 at 11:48 PM

Your point being; what would the 8 track of
isolationist-libertarian policy like to see?

dmann on March 12, 2008 at 11:16 PM

I don’t have any 8 tracks and I am not an isolationist and what I would like to see is a less Iraqi-centric view of the world along with a more realistic view of Islam.

MB4 on March 13, 2008 at 12:00 AM

If you go to the PEW website the first graph they have is the “Percent Aware of American Troop Deaths.” Notice how the number is in steady decline which when paired with the medias sudden insistance that Iraq isn’t news. You can start to see a narrative.

knat on March 13, 2008 at 12:04 AM

Your point being; what would the 8 track of
isolationist-libertarian policy like to see?

dmann on March 12, 2008 at 11:16 PM

Iraq’s only a battle in the war By Diana West

Such a proposition is always undone by the word “bloodbath,” as though Americans are eternally obligated to serve as buffers between the warring Islamic tribes of Iraq — which is both cracked and a good way to tie up American forces for the next several centuries.

Maybe the United States needs to get out of the real reconciliation business, and fast.

There’s a world of trouble outside Iraq. At the very least, it’s debatable whether building bridges between Sunnis and Shiites inside Iraq should remain American Priority No. 1.

MB4 on March 13, 2008 at 12:04 AM

This is why we are better off with Obama leading in the race, with a bitter and vindictive Hillary sniping at him. His signature issue is his supposed opposition to American victory, even though that is mainly because he has been in office for too short a time to make any significant votes, much less initiatives.

pedestrian on March 13, 2008 at 12:31 AM

America is about being a winner, always has been always will be. How the media let people like Obama, Reid etc etc get away with their negative outlook is beyond me. Reid for months said the war was lost NO HOPE and now where is he? This war will have the outcome we want it to, that is just the way it is.

TroubledMonkey on March 13, 2008 at 12:33 AM

Never bet against America.

The “ash-heap of history” is piled high with those who have.

29Victor on March 13, 2008 at 12:34 AM

This is why we are better off with Obama leading in the race, with a bitter and vindictive Hillary sniping at him. His signature issue is his supposed opposition to American victory, even though that is mainly because he has been in office for too short a time to make any significant votes, much less initiatives.

Obama will NEVER will NEVER. I still have faith in the American people and their ability to see through his BS. That is the difference between his America and mine. I think most Americans love this country “perceived” warts and all. He thinks his bumper sticker stump speeches are gonna fly when it comes time to vote.

Obama meet footnote, footnote meet Obama.

TroubledMonkey on March 13, 2008 at 12:43 AM

MB4….

Iraq is the lynchpin of strategic standing for the United States in the Mideast. Saddam’s arrogance and stubborn stupidity in disregarding the UN sanctions imposed upon him after the first Gulf war provided the excuse the United States needed to establish a qausi legitimate presence in (or close enough to) the Persian Gulf. Had GWB been honest enough to tell the country that we needed to protect vital economic/strategic interest from a growing Iranian threat and that Iraq had provided us with an opportunity (thank you Saddam) to influence events in the region, I believe most Americans would have understood the long term commitment required to carry out the mission. As for a better understanding of Islam…based on my personal working experience with both indigenous and foreign born Muslims, regardless of my secular tolerance and Christian values, I am, and will always be nothing more than an wayward infidel/kafir.

dmann on March 13, 2008 at 1:01 AM

dmann on March 13, 2008 at 1:01 AM

Don’t take my word for it.

From a survey of active duty officers (and this was before little Mahmoud’s grand reception in Iraq):

Furthermore, it appears that many officers find that the efforts of US forces have sometimes been counterproductive. Asked what country had gained the “greatest strategic advantage” from the war in Iraq, 37% said Iran while 22% answered China. Just one in five of the officers answered that the US had gained the most.

BAGHDAD (AP) — Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived Sunday in Baghdad for the first-ever visit by an Iranian president to Iraq, walking a red carpet past Iraqi troops to meet the president of a once-bitter enemy nation that’s now under growing Iranian influence.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani greeted Ahmadinejad at his car and the two kissed four times on the cheeks in the traditional fashion. A military honor guard saluted the two and a band played the two countries’ national anthems as they walked slowly down the red carpet at Talabani’s headquarters.
The visit gives Ahmadinejad a chance to highlight the relationship his nation has with post-Saddam Hussein Iraq while also serving as an act of defiance toward the U.S., which accuses Iran of training and giving weapons to Shiite extremists in Iraq.
Ahmadinejad is scheduled to meet not only with Talabani but also Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, both of whom have made official visits to Iran since taking office.

I wonder how those percentages would change now. I’ll bet that 37% for Iraq would go up, probably a good bit, and the 20% for the U.S. would go down, probably a good bit.

MB4 on March 13, 2008 at 1:55 AM

Had GWB been honest enough to tell the country that we needed to protect vital economic/strategic interest from a growing Iranian threat and that Iraq had provided us with an opportunity (thank you Saddam) to influence events in the region

dmann on March 13, 2008 at 1:01 AM

BTW, Sunni Saddam was a counter wieght to Shiite Iran. Now under mostly Shiite control, Iraq is hardly a counter weight to fellow Shiite Iran.

MB4 on March 13, 2008 at 1:59 AM

Reminds me of that last minute Republican “surge” Pew predicted in the days before the 2006 election.

For poor ol’ McCain’s sake, let’s hope that the chewing gum, baling wire and duct tape holding Iraq together doesn’t fail before November(as it seems to be doing).

Still…$12,000,000,000.00 a month buys a lot of duct tape.

alphie on March 13, 2008 at 2:36 AM

Not just the liberal media who will ignore this new Pew Research Ctr. study. But watch the so-called “liberarian” media ignore it, this morning, as well.

Don’t expect to see a glaring headline at the so-called “libertarian” movement’s banner Blog – Reason.com. And you most certainly will not see this up at LewRockwell.com, Justin Raimondo’s AntiWar.com, Knappster, ThirdPartyWatch, Free Liberal, Liberty Papers, or other leftist sites posing as “libertarians.”

Fortunately, you will see the news reported at REAL libertarian websites and Blogs, like Libertarian Republican, RealWorldLibertarian, Tammy Bruce, Neal Boortz News Born Again Redneck, Gay Patriot, and Mainstream libertarians.

There are still Goldwaterites, true libertarians, out there who support liberty and freedom across the board, and for everyone around the world.

If you all get the chance hop on over to Reason.com and express your disgust with the way the so-called “libertarian” site, ignores good news out of Iraq.

ericdondero on March 13, 2008 at 6:49 AM

Uh oh, time for Dem’s to step up and really whip out their white flags.

Conservative_SAHM on March 13, 2008 at 9:31 AM

To you libs out there, answer honstly: If you could choose between Iraq succeeding and the dems losing the election OR Iraq falling apart and the dems winning the election, which would it be?

Tony737 on March 12, 2008 at 9:39 PM

You won’t get an honest answer.

OneGyT on March 13, 2008 at 9:43 AM

How the media let people like Obama . . . get away with their negative outlook is beyond me

Obama? Negative? Yes he can!

And how to square this circle? 60% believe the war a mistake…..54% believe history will judge the war a failure.

So many polls..Which one to choose to bolster our own version of reality? I really wish we’d ignore these things entirely. A majority of Americans see a successful conclusion in Iraq? So what? Of course we all trumpet this poll because it validates our beliefs.

Grow Fins on March 13, 2008 at 11:42 AM

Grow Fins on March 13, 2008 at 11:42 AM

Democrat Congress = highest troop level of war, highest expenditure level.

Yes! You! Can!

Chuck Schick on March 13, 2008 at 12:09 PM

“The big question will be how this affects the presidential race.”

It probably won’t, Ed, because it simply won’t be reported.

I was listening to WBZ, an all-news station out of Boston this morning, and the news anchor started reading a story about this new Pew Poll. He totally ignored this part of the poll results, and concentrated instead on how the same poll found that most Americans no longer have any idea of how many American soldiers have been killed in Iraq. This was immediately followed by a report from Vic Ratner of “ABC News”, who emphasized that the “majority” of polls show that Americans still think going to war in Iraq was a bad idea.

It was all very slickly done, so well that the brain-dead radio audience in Taxachusetts would probably never even know about the other results of this poll.

Del Dolemonte on March 13, 2008 at 12:40 PM