WASHINGTON (CNN) – A majority of Americans don't trust the upcoming report by the Army's top commander in Iraq on the progress of the war and even if they did, it wouldn't change their mind, according to a new poll.
President Bush has frequently asked Congress - and the American people - to withhold judgment on his troop surge into Iraq until Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker issue their progress report in September.
But according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Thursday, 53 percent of people polled said they don't trust the military assessment of the situation without trying to make it sound better than it actually is. 43 percent said they do trust the general's report. (Read full poll results [PDF])
CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said he doesn't think the mistrust is directed at Petreaus as much as it is what he represents.
"It does seem to indicate that anyone associated with the Bush administration may be a less than credible messenger for the message that there is progress being made in Iraq," Holland said.
White House press secretary Tony Snow reacted to the poll saying that he hoped that "people do not try to engage in personal attacks on Gen. Petraeus or Ambassador Crocker.
"David Patraeus is basically the guy who's written the manual on counter-insurgency and the one thing that you see with returning Democratic and Republican congressman is that something very significant has taken place," Snow said.
Holland said he didn't think the public's mistrust of the report was directed personally at Petraeus - "I suspect most people are hearing the words 'general' and 'Iraq' and that's what they're basing their opinion on."
Another interesting thing about the poll, Holland said, is that it indicates that a majority about half of those surveyed - 47 percent - feel that the military is making progress in Iraq.
"So it won't be falling on deaf ears," he said. "It's more the messenger - if it looks to be too closely tied to the Bush administration, I'm afraid that people will concentrate on the messenger instead of the message."
How the report is phrased might also determine how it is received, Holland said. If the report details military progress, that might be better received than what political progress is being made by the Iraqi government.
Only 26 percent of those polled feel that the Iraqi government is making progress while 69 percent said that it wasn't.
"We haven't done a lot of polling about the Iraqi government," Holland said, "but the numbers we have seem to indicate that people are pretty skeptical of any government official in Iraq."
The poll indicates that most of America's mind is made up about the war - 72 percent said the report will have no effect on their view of the war.
Of those opposed to the war, 47 percent said Petreaus' report could not change their mind while 17 percent said it could.
Thirty-three percent said they support the war.
The poll was based on interviews of 1,029 Americans by telephone between August 6 and 8. The sampling error was plus or minus 4.5 percent except for the questions based on the respondents' support or lack of support of the war, which was plus or minus 3.5 percent.