Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Opposition to Iraq war keeps growing

This could rewrite the electoral landscape in November.

Sixty percent of Americans oppose the U.S. war in Iraq, the highest number since polling on the subject began with the commencement of the war in March 2003, according to poll results and trends released Wednesday.

And a majority of poll respondents said they would support the withdrawal of at least some U.S. troops by the end of the year, according to results from the Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted last week on behalf of CNN. The corporation polled 1,047 adult Americans by telephone.

I don't put much stock in polls, and I don't recommend getting too hepped up about this one. But the trend line is steep enough to grab attention.

If you take it at face value, it helps explain the defeat of Joe Lieberman in a way that doesn't focus on the myriad shortcomings of Ned Lamont. If 60 percent of Americans feel this way, then being a war supporter could be ballot-box poison nationwide, not just among Connecticut Democrats.

To address that, however, you'd have to examine how the poll breaks down by party and geography -- and given a sample size of 1,047, those subsamples would probably be small enough to strain margin-of-error boundaries.

It's an article of faith among pro-war Republicans that Iraq is still a winning issue for them, as they try to frame the debate as being between "stay the course" Republicans and witless "cut-and-run" Democrats.

Whatever you may think of that spin, this poll suggests that the Republicans may simply be wrong about the fundamentals, badly misreading the public mood.

It bears watching, if nothing else.

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This poll definitely shows the trend that people are coming back to their senses.
The war is the very reason for the defeat of Lieberman.
As long as the war is such a huge issue, it will define who is 'moderate' and who is not. Lieberman clearly is not. I always thought Lieberman was not a moderate but a 'hawk', and being among a pack of Doves and being 'different' got tagged a 'moderate'. It is time people like you Sean, frame the debate over who is 'moderate'. A democrat able to 'work ' with republicans or vice-versa should not be defined as 'moderate', there should be more to it.
I read somewhere that the defeat of Lieberman is a defeat of DLC whats your opinion ?
GK

8/10/2006 7:19 AM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

I don't think "ability to work with members of the opposite party" should be a political liability. It should be encouraged, not discouraged. Whether it's a good thing or a bad thing in any particular instance should depend on what the issue is and how the work is accomplished.

I support moderates, whatever their party label. As long as they work for moderate causes, fine. If they simply roll over because of party (dis)loyalty, that's a problem.

Lieberman is a defeat for the DLC to the extent that they want to work with a broader coalition of Dems, including conservatives, and they worked to help Lieberman win. But he's not really representative of the DLC, which is more centrist than he is.

Besides, individual DLC-backed candidates can lose without indicating widespread dissatisfaction with the DLC approach in general. Politics eventually comes down to the individuals in the race, and the temper of the voters in that particular district.

8/10/2006 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Marc Schneider said...

I think Anonymous is being unfair to Lieberman. Other than the war, Lieberman is pretty much a mainstream Democratic liberal, albeit somewhat more conservative on some social issues and religion. Even if he is a "hawk" as Anonymous states, that doesn't mean he is not a moderate, unless you think one is defined by a single issue. It seems to me that what has infuriated liberals is not so much Lieberman's stand on the war, but the appearance that he is "working with" Bush. But, while I disagree with Lieberman on the war, he didn't start it (other than voting for the resolution which many Democrats did)and the fact that he doesn't exhibit visceral Bush hatred doesn't make him not a moderate--it simply makes him not a hyperpartisan liberal. I understand the discomfort with Lieberman's seeming embrace of Bush, but to tar him, as Anonymous seems to be doing, as some sort of extremist, seems unfair. I think it's a mistake to define a moderate based on a single issue.

And it seems to me that Lieberman's defeat is not a defeat of the DLC itself although the liberal bloggers would like to look at it that way. I'm not sure what the DLC's position on the war is--or if it has one--but, in general, I think the DLC is far more representative of the mass of Democrats and the country as a whole than the bloggers.

8/10/2006 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lieberman lost not because he is not a hyper partisan but because he went against the very principle of liberal thought( I guess even a moderate's thought) , which is that there are no demi-gods in politics who cannot be questioned (like he suggested that the president should not be questioned).
and as far him being a centrist, that doesnt make him a moderate. centrists are defined by the exact distance they are from extremeties, and with his apparent political opprtunism he staked out that position on many crucial issues long ago. The centrist position can keep changing that depending on where the extremeties are moving.
A moderate's positon on war (I think)is never to start one if there are other ways to deal with it and more importantly iraq and alqaeda were two different issues. At the moment a moderate's positon on Iraq is that there is a certainly a problem in Iraq and we need to take it head on , not pass rhetoric (stay the course or u will get 'hit' again), which is the same as a liberal's poistion but not Lieberman's

Iraq was the elephant in the room and Lieberman is neither a moderate or a centrist on it and he will only continue to fool himself by running as an independent.

GK

8/10/2006 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand why more people aren't talking about the option between "staying the course" and "cut and run". I've heard the idea of withdrawing (not instantly) to neighboring Kuwait, ready to jump back in at a moment's notice? It is time to let them operate on their own and find their own course, but we can be right on the sidelines.
- Caracarn

8/14/2006 12:17 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

That's a possibility. I think one problem might be that it's more damaging to the new Iraqi government if we repeatedly have to "ride to the rescue" in a high-profile intervention than if we just stay put.

I think the key will be when we hand over one of the really violent provinces to Iraqi control. If they can handle that one, we can give them the others. So I think a gradual withdrawal will be a province-by-province deal.

But I think Congress should set some sort of deadline to demonstrate that our current strategy is working. I don't want to come back a year from now, with the situation worsening, and have the administration keep insisting that victory is just around the corner -- that doing the same old thing will eventually produce a different result.

8/14/2006 1:30 PM  

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