Wow: Public now almost evenly split on timetable for withdrawal

50/49 in favor per the new ABC/WaPo poll, within the three-point margin of error. There’s no prior data on the specific question of a 16-month timetable to compare it to, but given the trend on whether significant progress is being made, it’s safe to say Obama’s pullout advantage ain’t what it used to be:


I don’t know what to make of it. It’s in line with what Quinnipiac recently found in four battleground states, with clear majorities opposing a timetable in each, but it runs counter to national polls taken in June by CNN, Pew, and Time magazine, in which majorities answered yes to variations on a question about supporting withdrawal as soon as possible without regard to Iraq’s stability. Are ABC/WaPo and Quinnipiac catching the first sign of a breaking wave in public opinion? I don’t know how else to explain it, except that the more articles like this there are on the wires, the less catalyzing Maverick’s “100 years” comment is going to seem.

Here’s a little morsel tucked into ABC’s analysis for which partisan data is conspicuously not supplied:

On Afghanistan, however, independents side more closely with Republicans than with Democrats. Majorities of Republicans and independents think the war in Afghanistan was worth fighting and that the effort there is linked to the eventual defeat of terrorism more broadly. Majorities of Democrats disagree.

The split on whether the war was worth fighting is 51/45 and the split on whether victory is necessary is 51/42. Assuming (safely) that large majorities of Republicans answered yes to both questions, just how large are the majorities of Democrats who are now saying no? Exit question: In light of the fact that Obama’s main justification in withdrawing from Iraq is to redeploy to where the “real war on terror” is being fought, has anyone bothered telling him yet that his own supporters evidently no longer think we should be fighting there?

Update: Forgot to mention, answering “yes” to whether the candidate would be a good commander-in-chief: McCain 72, Obama 48.

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