Huge front-page news: Pew: Majority now believe U.S. effort in Iraq will succeed, 53-39
Okay, just kidding. The story doesn’t seem to have registered with any of the big online news outlets, even the hyper-Republican FoxNews.com. Detailed info here, basic numbers are to the right, and here’s a summary:
Public perceptions of the situation in Iraq have become significantly more positive over the past several months, even as opinions about the initial decision to use military force remain mostly negative and unchanged.
The number of Americans who say the military effort is going very or fairly well is much higher now than a year ago (48% vs. 30% in February 2007). There has been a smaller positive change in the number who believe that the U.S. will ultimately succeed in achieving its goals (now 53%, up from 47% in February 2007).
Opinion on the critical question of whether the U.S. should keep troops in Iraq is now about evenly divided, the first time this has happened since late 2006. About half of those surveyed (49%) say they favor bringing troops home as soon as possible, but most of these (33%) favor gradual withdrawal over the next year or two, rather than immediate withdrawal. Similarly, just under half (47%) say that the U.S. should keep troops in Iraq until the situation has stabilized, with most of these (30%) saying that no timetable should be set.
It’s also worth noting that while only 14% of respondents currently support immediate withdrawal, a year ago (before the surge) that number was only 18%. Basically, only Democratic leadership and hardcore anti-war/military/Bush extremists have supported an immediate and unilateral surrender.
It’s also interesting that while the number calling for immediate withdrawal has shrunk by over 20%, the number calling for gradual withdrawal “over the next year or two” has remained constant. I continue to believe that the “next year or two” timeframe, much like the ever-popular “six-month” timeframe, is usually widely accepted as some sort of reasonable indeterminate length of time that everything gets. I would bet that the “next year or two” numbers from previous years are similar to the current ones, as well.
Finally, I once again don’t really get the “will we succeed in Iraq?” responses. While I have long maintained that we won’t know if our efforts in Iraq will ultimately pay off until the current young Iraqi children and their offspring are grown and running the country (two to four decades in the future), it seems to me that poll questions about our chances of success are necessarily intended to reflect short- and mid-term results. If this is indeed the case, we’re looking at some highly mobile goal posts if only 60% of respondents are sure that we won’t fail. A commenter at Hot Air sums it up nicely:
I mean, Saddam is dead, the WMD’s are gone, Iraq is sovereign, elections were held.
As I noted recently, no matter how much progress is made,it’s Never Fast Enough.