July 31st, 2008
11:00 AM ET
6 years ago

Poll: Americans think surge a success, want troops home

Workers clear debris during reconstruction along al-Mutanabi Street in central Baghdad, Iraq, in May.
Workers clear debris during reconstruction along al-Mutanabi Street in central Baghdad, Iraq, in May.

(CNN) - When it comes to Iraq, Americans agree with both John McCain and Barack Obama.

According to a just-released CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll, a majority agree with the Arizona senator's assertion that the troop surge policy in Iraq has been a success. But an even larger majority agree with Obama's plan to set a timetable for troop withdrawal.

The new survey shows 52 percent of Americans rate the surge as a success while 41 percent say it has been a failure. McCain has been sharply critical of Obama for not calling the policy, implemented in January 2007, an outright success. The Illinois senator has said he thinks the surge has improved conditions on the ground but would still have not supported it, instead favoring a "strategy that actually concludes our involvement in Iraq and moves Iraqis to take responsibility for the country."

More than 60 percent of Americans appear to agree with Obama on that front, while 37 percent agree with McCain and say it would not be wise for the U.S. to set a timetable for withdrawal.

There is also good news and bad news on Iraq: The number of Americans who say the U.S. is winning the war is on the rise, and is at its highest level in 2 1/2 years. Now 37 percent say the U.S. is winning the war - that number is five points higher than it was in March and nine points higher than it was at the end of last year.

But 57 percent still say neither side is winning and 6 percent say the insurgents are on top.

Meanwhile, 56 percent of Americans agree with the view that the number of troops in Afghanistan should be boosted as the number of troops in Iraq is reduced. That may be because more Americans support the war in Afghanistan, although most Americans oppose both wars - 46 percent favor the war in Afghanistan; just 33 percent support the war in Iraq.


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soundoff (194 Responses)
  1. DMAC/Post Falls, ID

    SANTE: You have made very good points They are among the ones that I have asked myself for about a yr. I have emailed and asked and get no response. Just the media follows him around with their nose up his ___ like he is the second coming. SOOOOO OVER RATED.
    What a bad choice. So many better dropped out.
    Can you believe Warren Buffet is reported to be one of his backers. I thought he was a real tight conservative. So many things in this election are not making sence,

    July 31, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. Hey SANTE!

    1. Don't really know how to respond to that one other than to say that your a bigtime cynic.

    2. Who cares, personally I'm completely against any kind of rights for gays/lesbians/tranny's or whatever, but I'm still supporting him because this kind of issue is nowhere near the forefront of this campaign and I could care less.

    3. He's nor arrogant, he's confident. You would be to if almost everything you were running on was going in your favor. There's nothing wrong with it!

    4. Let's see he worked his way through different high schools and Harvard Law (which I'm sure is better than SANTE's community college degree), worked as a community organizer anda professor of CONSTITUTIONAL LAW at a Chicago college.

    People always hate'in on Obama, but you know what they say about haters, THERE JUST JEALOUS! It's ok!

    OBAMA 2008 + 2012

    July 31, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. JDM

    My line of thought
    1. The surge work- exit Iraq
    2. The surge did not work- exit Iraq
    3. Forces are tired- exit Iraq
    4. We going broke- exit Iraq
    5, Saddam die- exit Iraq
    6. No WMD- exit Iraq
    7. They told us to leave- exit Iraq
    8 Afgan are starting to kick our butt- exit Iraq
    9. Exon,Moblie, Hallibut, Blackwater are rich now- exit Iraq
    10. And finally We already won, 60% of USA are thinking a like- exit Iraq!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 31, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  4. Gary in VA

    Surge, Surge, Surge if we keep this mess up in Iraq you think you've got financial trouble now. Well as longs as we are supporting/I mean paying the salaries of the Iraq Army, Iraq Policy, and paying the local who were once engineer and other occupations to clean toliets on american bases in Iraq we will forever be in financial turmoil. I hope you do pick John McCain. I love this crash and burn effect. My job is recession proof. As long as we are in Iraq. I will forever be employeed. Please don't end the war. I can used the money. It will pay for my third house.

    July 31, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. Tired of W, OH

    John hit the nail on the head. We are paying the terrorists with tax-payer money not to kill us!

    WAKE UP PEOPLE!

    July 31, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  6. Nicosia, Petersburg,Va

    Yeah the surge is working when the clerics and sheiks are telling their militias to cease fire. If the clerics told their militias to go back to business as usual the surge would only put more American lives in danger.

    July 31, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. Heide-Auburn

    Vietnam era we called it "escalation" and it works for a while. Escalation – surge, who cares. We shouldn't have been there in the first place. U.S. hasn't declared war on any country so what are WE winning.

    July 31, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  8. BR

    The Messiah says I will bring them all home....wait maybe some will need to stay....I will bring them all home....combat forces will leave, but as president reserve the right to go back in, in the event of genocide, etc. That sounds like a plan there. You libs need to wake up to the real Obama. He doesn't have a clue. But hey, keep drinking the kool-aid.

    July 31, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  9. NoMcSame

    No, listen to McSame and send more. More more more. 100yrs is what he calls out for so send more. Don't you love war America. The sound of the bombs in the air must make us feel feal good. As a matter of fact lets go bomb Iran. War is good don't you just love it.
    Obama08 A Dream

    July 31, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. WBW OHIO

    This SURGE is pure BS.
    The so called Sunni Awakening is A PAYOFF we the US is giving millions to the Sunni Militias to win them over. Also the fact that SADR
    called a cease fire is the reason the violence has dropped. Does anyone remember when the cease fire was broken what happened.

    July 31, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. Shawn T

    hmmm.....

    Americans don't want US troops in Iraq.

    The US Generals don' want US troops in Iraq.

    Our Allies all over the world don't want US troops in Iraq.

    Iraqis don't want US troops in Iraq.

    Middle eastern countries don't want US troops in Iraq.

    Shias don't want US troops in Iraq.

    Sunnis don't want US troops in Iraq.

    Al Qaeda doesn't want US troops in Iraq.

    Get a hint?

    Naw, lets vote McCain, stay in Iraq, and let our soldiers die to make W's and Cheney's wallets fatter.

    July 31, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. tony

    This is for Tony C and those like him-
    Saddam was killing his own people–
    We help people–That is what makes America Great-
    THose who are only concerned about their beliefs never make it far-
    Maybe that's why we have so many programs-

    The problem Tony C and the like is that the Media can't say much that is negative about Iraq so you don't see the progress-
    Progress has been unbelievable–
    THey are taking over their own security-
    There can be peace and we will have a stable ally to prevent that area from blowing up-
    By the way-
    Almost 2500 Days without a terroist attack on our soil-
    Don't any of you Dems ever remember standing in front of the Capital in Unity–
    Go get them wherever they hide-
    President Bush said it would long war - As soon as the media melded your mind that this terrible you all started believing it-
    Your either a leader or a follower-
    It's easy to pick out whose who–

    July 31, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  13. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The surge has been a QUALIFIED success. One of the goals of the surge was to reduce vilolence. The primary goal was for the Iraqi government to complete some benchmarks that would make it more able to survive on its own without military support from the US. It hasn't gotten much closer to that important item. That is why I call it a QUALIFIED success. If the Awakening Councils hadn't started, then it could have been as violent as ever.

    July 31, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  14. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Yo SANTE,

    Exactly what do you think Karl Rove and his minions did in 2004 with color-coded threat levels and the spectre of gay marriage that they seem to drag out every four years?" Manipulation, PU-LEEZE!

    Arrogant is ignoring experienced military personnel telling you how to fight a war and having hacks like Rumsfeld, L. Paul Bremer , et al. run things into the ground....

    July 31, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. Chris from Palo Alto, CA

    I find the disproportionate reporting by CNN staggering.

    I highly doubt the polling question asked, "Do you agree with Senator Barack Obama when he said we should implement a 'strategy that actually concludes our involvement in Iraq and moves Iraqis to take responsibility for the country,' OR do you agree with Senator McCain's plan for non-withdrawal?"

    Come on, Give me a break. Check your spelling too . . . "sucess"?! Give me a break. This is supposed to be a credible news organization?

    Your website is plastered with campaign ads for Barack Obama, every story is about Barack Obama, everything is about what Barack Obama said in response to McCain. The big, better, more presidential-looking photographs all feature Barack Obama.

    And again, CNN overgeneralizes what "most Americans" think based on the most recent new poll.

    CNN, step up your game. . . or I'm sad to say I'm switching to Fox News.

    July 31, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. bill for barack

    If you truly and sincerely want the troops home then there is no way on earth you could possibly vote for McBush, who has already promised us another 100 years of combat in Iraq.

    July 31, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  17. Steve

    When is McSame going to admit he was wrong for voting for the war in the first place?

    July 31, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  18. Dragon Lady

    Of course we want them home. Their families want them home. BUT, what awaits the troops when they do get home? If they don't finish what we started, will they only have to go back ? Is this what the troops and their families have to look forward to? We need to finish what we started. If Obama is elected we will have to go back in there to clean up all over again AND it will be bloodier and messier and take a LOT LONGER the next time around. Are we ready for that kind of in-experienced leadership and government expense?
    THINK ABOUT IT. The next Presidency is not a PHOTO-OP experience toward post-Presidency speech income. We need a concerned leader NOW. THINK ABOUT IT !

    July 31, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. tony

    One more item–JUst for the record–
    OBAMA flatly said the surge would not work–
    He has said conditions have improved-
    Now the polls are going against him here –most Americans agree by over 10% the surge is a success that even means some of you DEms agree-
    This along with the "do not Drill" which now 75% agree we should-
    Remember–Clinton could have signed into law -drilling but vetoed it-We would not be in the position we are if he had not dropped to his knees for the envionmental lobby–
    Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid will not even allow a vote–
    I thought their job was to do the peoples work-
    Some of the Dems agree-they may not be on this blog but I have no doubt-McCain will WIN–
    It won't be because he's so great it will be because Obama is an empty Suit-
    Rock Stars don't make PRESIDENT period!

    July 31, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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