CBS poll: Petraeus testimony has only slight effect on war support

We’ll be seeing a bunch of these before/after polls this week, especially since the media already has a sense of how they’re going to go. By “war support,” I mean the number of people willing to accept a troop commitment of two years or more to see the mission through. That was at 20% before Petraeus testified; now it’s 22%, on the strength of (only?) 49% of Republicans. They don’t provide the cross-tabs so I can’t tell whether the other 51% of the GOP wants a longer commitment of five years or a shorter one of less than two, but even assuming a 4 to 1 lopsided split towards the shorter commitment, you’re looking at a lot of disaffected Republican voters at each extreme and no easy way for the nominee to bridge them.

The most dramatic movement is among people who say they want troop levels increased. That was 11% two weeks ago and now it’s only 6%, presumably on the strength of Petraeus’s recommendation that the surge brigades be drawn down. Correspondingly, the number who want troop levels reduced has risen from 35% to 39%. The one hopeful sign for war supporters: only 47% want a drawdown larger than the one Petraeus has prescribed before next summer.

Jazz Shaw Dec 01, 2021 11:01 AM ET