Support for the decision to go to war is measured by Gallup’s historical trend question of whether the United States made a “mistake in sending troops to Iraq.” In the June 24-26 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, 53% of Americans said it was a mistake while 46% said it was not.
Support for continuing the military efforts is measured by a newer question that asks whether the United States should set a timetable for withdrawing its troops (and stick to it regardless of what is happening in Iraq), or keep a significant number of troops in Iraq until the situation is stable, even if that takes many years. The same poll found 51% of Americans favoring a timetable and 44% wanting to keep troops in Iraq as long as needed. (Gallup conducted a poll in the days following Bush’s nationally televised address on Iraq last Tuesday night, and found no fundamental change in Americans’ views of the Iraq war.)
However, Americans do not neatly divide into two large pro- and anti-war groups, as the divided views on the two questions might suggest. There are really four camps that Americans fall into when evaluating the ongoing war in Iraq. The largest segment of Americans, 36%, is anti-war on both questions — they believe it was a mistake to send troops to Iraq and believe the United States should set a timetable for withdrawal. A slightly smaller proportion, 30%, is pro-war on both dimensions — they do not believe it was a mistake to send troops and believe the United States should keep troops in Iraq as long as needed.
Twenty-eight percent of Americans have mixed views of the war — 14% agree with the decision to go to war but think the United States should now look to withdraw troops. This group can be considered to be “losing patience.” Another 14% believe the United States made a mistake in going to war, but think the country should keep troops in Iraq anyway until the situation stabilizes; these can be considered to be “feeling boxed in.”
I am surprised that 30% still think that the Iraq War was not a mistake and want to keep our troops there. Must be the FOX News audience. These are the same people who think that we actually found WMDs in Iraq.