May 29th, 2010
08:00 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Instability in Iraq could diminish support for troop withdrawal

 Support for President Barack Obama's planned removal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the August could drop significantly if Iraq cannot solve its current problems in time.
Support for President Barack Obama's planned removal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the August could drop significantly if Iraq cannot solve its current problems in time.

Washington (CNN) – Support for President Barack Obama's planned removal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the August could drop significantly if Iraq cannot solve its current problems in time, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Saturday indicates that 64 percent of Americans favor the president's plan to keep just 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq by the end of the summer, with 35 percent opposed.

But public approval of the plan falls to 51 percent if Iraq does not have a stable government by August and there is widespread violence at that time, with opposition rising to 48 percent.

"Support drops more than 20 points among Americans with a college education and among suburbanites," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But among people who never attended college, opinion barely changes. The same is true for people who live in rural areas."

The survey also indicates that the conflict in Iraq remains very unpopular, with more than six in ten saying they oppose the war.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that despite the recent spike in violence and political impasse, the planned withdrawal continues. While the pace of the withdrawal is being determined by the top commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, the deadline, which was set in an agreement with the Iraqi government, remains on schedule.

"We plan for everything. But right now, every expectation is that we will meet the 50,000 as of the first of September," said Secretary Robert Gates on May 20th.

With the reduction of troops, the U.S. now has more troops in Afghanistan than Iraq for the first time since 2003.

According to the poll, the war in Afghanistan fares only a little better, with 56 percent now saying they oppose the war in Afghanistan, up from 49 percent in March. Support for the conflict in Afghanistan stands at 42 percent, down six points from March.

"The war in Afghanistan remains popular among Republicans, with about two-thirds of them saying they favor the war," adds Holland. "But support among Democrats is only at 27 percent, and among Independents it has fallen 10 points, to just 40 percent. That is the lowest support for the war among Democrats and Independents taht we have seen this year."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted May 21-23, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

– CNN's Adam Levine and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: CNN poll • Iraq • President Obama
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Cole

    It has been proven time and time again- you cannot help a people who cannot help themselves. This stupidity and unnecesary expense in our country's human lives and waste of billions of taxpayer dollars has gone on for far too long, and of course Kharzai would want it to go on forever. He is one of the worst thieves in his own country, and naturally would want us over there forever. I say "enough is enough!"
    Get our soldiers out of there before even one more loss of our military members.

    May 29, 2010 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  2. Jeff Spangler

    I've got a law degree, opposed Vietnam as a useless loss of over 58,000 lives, and I've opposed Iraq from the start. Afghanistan made sense right after 9/11 but is now a hopeless situation. All we're doing is supporting the world's largest supplier of opium. We can fight al-Qaeda and other crazy Muslims at our borders and in our homeland, but more American money and death in their hellhole patch of Earth is foolish. While I oppose stupid wars, I salute all warriors who follow orders to fight them, no matter how ill-advised the battle. Thanks to all vets dead and alive.

    May 29, 2010 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  3. Doyle Wiley, MI

    We need to withdraw from Iraq so Iraq can determine what type of country they will be. As long as we are there Iraq will be stabilize.

    May 29, 2010 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  4. JES

    You just can't put or even try to put time limits on this WAR.

    May 29, 2010 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  5. Richard Komi

    It is time the Iraqi government and people realize that America can not be in Iraq for ever. Our presence in Iraq is costing the United States more than has been reported. We have lost lives and spent trillions of Dollars and we are facing the biggest deficit in the history of our country while Iraq is enjoying a surplus. The Iraqi government needs to step up their efforts to provide security for their people and have a credible government. Every good thing that begins must come to an end and that is how our presence in Iraq will have to come to an end some time. The only people that can stop the instability in Iraq is the Iraqi people themselves. Allowing insurgents an upper hand is a ploy to keep American presence in Iraq indefinately. The troop withdrawal should go forward as planned.

    May 29, 2010 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  6. tcaros

    Obama needs to get the troops home.

    This is Bush's war, not one for Americans. We need to investigate the people behind 9/11. It's probably related to the lies to go go war.

    May 29, 2010 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  7. J.V.Hodgson

    Frankly I think it is irrelevant about the status of the Iraqi government formation. The election was held and the politicians elected under a system America supported and is all that matters.
    Iraq is an Islamic state and always will be. The christian military infidel ( no matter how well intended simply incites or at least makes more likely ethnic and religious violence. Our withdrawal will speed up reconciliation and reduce the level of inter faith disputes because America can no longer be accused of directly interfering in National politics (or anything else) thru its Military presence.
    I say get all our troops out now we need to save the money to reduce the national debt.Iraq never was and is certainly less so now a risk to US national security.
    Me, I would do the same in Afghanistan and figure out the cost of a school plus teacher and books, cost per metre of building an irrigation channel/digging wells, let private enterprise compete with China for mineral resources. Give new non poppy or converted poppy farmers a subsidy for say three years to match income to poppy growing X$ per acre, and roads and rail infrastructure with development aid loans to western companies to construct but with Afghan labour. All you need is one ( or a few guys) guy on each project to measure results schools built, irrigation channel lengths ( not to poppy farms ) crop turnover acreage and $ price crop difference and new cultivation ( crops chosen to enable some agronomic independence, and high value crops. In other words do it first and then you get the money at monthly intervals based on measured actual progress ... if money disappears in bribes the distance or crop acreage etc cannot be shown = money first reduces and then stops.
    Honest warlords or power brokers win in the end via local taxes, the dishonest remain in the dark ages, it will not then last.
    Basically use the cost of military spending for economic and social development, including long term non repayable aid into a medical infrastructure. and policing.
    It will cost half as much as the military solution and fights Al qaeda and the Taliban in the way they are fighting... because militarily AQ and Taliban will never win reminds me of winning "hearts and minds" being key."
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    May 30, 2010 01:12 am at 1:12 am |