August 16th, 2007
02:01 PM ET
8 years ago

Poll: Americans don't trust Iraq report

Gen. Petraeus will report to Congress in September.

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.

Filed under: Iraq • President Bush
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Paul, New Orleans, LA

    Previous post:

    People who say if the military was allowed to do what it takes to win, the US would have won Vietnam and this war. Those people know nothing about military history. A professional standing army will never win a guerilla war. Why don't you ask the Brits how we did it early in the Revolutionary War.
    How come people cannot get that through their head!!!???
    We have been over in the Middle East since we formed as a country, the US installed OUR OWN RULER in IRAN in 1953!! How come no one takes that into account of why there is "terrorisim"? MOST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES MEDDLE IN OTHERS, accept it. The US does that same things that the white house accuses Iran of

    Again!! WHY HAS NO ONE NOTED THE FACT THAT THE US INSTALLED THEIR OWN RULER IN IRAN IN 1953!!!!! Would you be pissed if this happened to us???


    August 21, 2007 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    Paul, New Orleans, LA ... EXCELLENT post!

    It was called "Operation Ajax".

    But most people (especially Bushies) are too stupid to look that up.

    August 22, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. Paul, New Orleans, LA

    To Rick in Chicago:

    Thanks! At least someone on this board knows of this information! It is rather sad that only two of us can point this out. Do any of the neocons and lefty wackjobs know this???? I dare any of you in that camp to refute this!!!

    August 22, 2007 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  4. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Paul ~ New Orleans


    Yes, The US and England helped put into power the Shah of Iran. Prior to this the western-friendly Prime Minister had been assassignated, parliment quickly passing changes to nationalize the oil industry, and the leader (Mossadegh) became Prime Minister.

    Absolutely in the 70's the Iranian conflict arose had roots in resentment from the Shah's rule. However militants were equally angry about the "westernization" of their country (ala women not covering as islamic law proscribes), and the economic struggles Iran was facing.

    Today terrorists cite any and all reasons for jihad: western influences, the crusades, our support of Israel, their economic struggles, etc.

    With ALL the reasons one might point fingers at the US – we are one of the largest provider of foreign aid (food, money, provisions), we support Palestine AND Israel, we support dialogue and peaceful means to end conflict, and have use forced only when necessary and attempted to incorporate a social conscience into our military efforts.

    We are not perfect, but we are not the great satan. And we will not stand quietly while terrorists plot, plan, and execute actions which injure and kill thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

    And yes – we WILL operate and support policies that act in our (USA) best interests.


    August 23, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  5. Paul, New Orleans, LA

    To: Jon in Sacramento

    I am not shocked that the US govt does things like this, but I don't want our govt accusing others when it is know that the US govt does the same thing. The US govt acts like they never do anything bad. In fact, I don't care what we give, that still doesn't give the US govt the right to put in rulers of our own on other countries. Then we wonder why "blowback" happens??? Idiot, you just meddled with another country, what do you expect???
    Don't tell me we support as much as Israel, that is a bold faced lie. Who is the innocent when we meddle in other countries to contribute many deaths? FYI: I served in this recent circus that we call this operation.

    August 27, 2007 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
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