CNN Poll: Americans agree on bringing troops home from Iraq
December 21st, 2011
11:55 AM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans agree on bringing troops home from Iraq

(CNN) – Most Americans agree with the decision to end the war in Iraq, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday. Almost eight in ten said they support removal of combat troops from that country by the end of this year.

And although 96% are proud of U.S. troops who served in Iraq, just one in three consider the war a victory and more than half call it a stalemate.

Full results

President Obama announced the full withdrawal of troops from Iraq by the year's end in October. Now, two-thirds say they oppose the war and more think the U.S. made a mistake sending troops to Iraq in the first place 53% to 46% over those who do not think it was a mistake.

Americans are similarly divided over whether they agree with then-Sen. Barack Obama's opinion that it was a "dumb" decision to send troops to Iraq in 2003 - 51% say it was dumb and 45% say it was smart.

More than half think the Bush administration deliberately misled the American public about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, but about half say U.S. involvement in the war has had a positive effect on life in Iraq.

When it comes to the U.S., half the nation believes the Iraq war had a negative effect on life here and seven out of 10 say the money spent on the war is one reason for the economic problems facing the country today.

"After the Vietnam war, commentators noted a wariness among the U.S. public to support the use of military force, dubbing it the 'Vietnam syndrome,'" said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Roughly half the public believed that war was an outdated way of settling international conflicts even into the 1980s, but only 32% of Americans feel that way today, with 66% saying that war is sometimes necessary - a minority view after Vietnam. At the same time, seven in ten believe that U.S. military force should only be used as a last resort, and that may be the more lasting impact on public opinion of the war in Iraq."

Almost four in ten American say the U.S. only accomplished some of its goals in Iraq, but almost eight in ten say we could not achieve any more no matter how long troops remained in that country.

The CNN poll was conducted by telephone by ORC International from Dec. 16 to Dec. 18, among 1,015 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

- CNN Associate Producer Rebecca Stewart contributed to this report.


Filed under: CNN poll • Iraq • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. ja

    bringing the troops home should mean "Obama 2012"

    December 21, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. once upon a horse

    and so far none of the major Republicans have welcomed our troops home....many have slammed the president for doing this. Wonder how our troops feel about that.

    December 21, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. vic , nashville ,tn

    Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul represent eight in ten but they can’t win GOP nomination that is pathetic

    December 21, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  4. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    Thank you for holding up a campaign promise and ending this God forsaken war of deceit. Welcome home troops!

    December 21, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  5. sonny chapman

    When a politician says,'War is a last resort", they've already made up their mind to go to war. Try to remember that for next time. And then ask, "Are you sending your own kids or grand kids" ?

    December 21, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Thank you for fulfilling the agreement made by George Bush years ago, and taking credit for it. But the fact Obama failed to come to an agreement with the Iraqi government on keeping some troops there is a very large failure for Obama and this country. It jeopardizes everything the country sacrificed for over the last several years. It was clear Obama's only concern was his re-election.

    December 21, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Phil in KC

    Oh, I think it was a victory. We beat the Iraqi Army, deposed their despot ruler and installed a form of government that at least gives the appearance of some sort of democracy.
    BUT – we should never have been in that war to begin with. AND there was absolutely no plan of action once Saddam Hussein had been defeated. It was a total cowboy maneuver with no thought behind the consequences and the follow-up.
    The troops did a great job. But, it is a good thing that we're out of there. We lost too many lives and it cost us too much money. It was the straw on the camel's back that nearly broke our economy.

    December 21, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    Thank you for holding up a campaign promise and ending this God forsaken war of deceit. Welcome home troops!
    ------------------------
    Yes indeed! Thank you and WELCOME HOME!!!!!

    December 21, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. Larry L

    This is just one more of the stinking messes Bush created and President Obama fixed. Our Soldiers are heroes but Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld should be held for war crimes.

    December 21, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    The conservative establishment will look at this poll and identify it as a messaging problem. They will sincerely believe that The People are somehow not hearing what they are being told to think, as if their message is being drowned out.

    December 21, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. steve

    More than half think the Bush administration deliberately misled the American public about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, More than half = 99.9%

    December 21, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. CoJo

    so why do the republicans still won't acknowldge that the majority of the american people do not want to be in Iraq? Are they not listening? I for one would not want american soldiers in a country they are not wanted and have no legal support from that country. That is setting up the american troops for huge international problems. But yet the repulicans are blind to this? Do they really not care about the american forces? But only their self interests? If they are smart, they would realize there are a lot of american bases in the middle east, europe that can respond quickly if they (Iraqians) call upon them....

    December 21, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  13. Fair is Fair

    GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    Thank you for holding up a campaign promise and ending this God forsaken war of deceit.
    ---------
    Thank you for not screwing up an agreement negoiated by th Bush administration.

    December 21, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  14. Joan

    Thank goodness Pres. Obama kept his promise and brought home the troops before more brave soldiers get killed and wounded. History will not prove kindly toward Pres. Bush and VP Cheney on this war. It is well documented that they lied about WMD, lied that Saddam Hussein was involved in 911, when Hussein was captured Bush said "He tried to kill my daddy" and Cheney's Haliburton made billions on contracts for the war. The troops paid the price for their arrogance and Haliburton made billions while the US lost trillions which of course affected the deficit. Afghanistan was a different story because they did support Al Queda and Bin Laden. Many other countries supported the US in this war but unfortunately the governement dropped the ball on the Afghanistan war and concentrated most of their resources in Iraq. Had they focussed on Afghanistan totally, that war might have been over long ago with thousands fewer deaths and injuries. Hopefully Pres. Obama can bring an end to the Afghanistan war too despite the protests from the Republicans. If they had their way the US would have gone into Libya unilaterally, would probably be at war with Iran (remember McCain's "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran chant") and be interfering in Syria and North Korea. Wow! There's problems to solve at home you know.

    December 21, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. dan in Alquerque

    It was the right thing to do. Clear and simple.

    December 21, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. mk1

    What truly scares me is the fact that all but one GOP candidate for President is all for a war with Iran. Of course it would be with our all volunteer military, of which my son currently serves on active duty, with again no sacrifice at home except for those families of those serving. I have long said that any war worth fighting should be fought alongside sacrifice by all at home, even those not in the military. War has become way too impersonal with fewer than 2% of the American people actually having a personal stake in the current war. America has become accustomed to letting others do the fighting and cheering from the sidelines as they reap the benefits. Unless America as a whole is willing to become fully involved with the effort, the effort is not worth the cost.

    December 21, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    "Thank you for fulfilling the agreement made by George Bush years ago, and taking credit for it. But the fact Obama failed to come to an agreement with the Iraqi government on keeping some troops there is a very large failure for Obama and this country. It jeopardizes everything the country sacrificed for over the last several years. It was clear Obama's only concern was his re-election."

    Defending the war that never should have been fought, are you? Tell us, Truth. Did YOU enlist or serve in the military these past nine years, or are you just an arm chair quarterback kind of guy? You know the ones I speak of; the whole "country sacrificed" crowd of do nothing but complain(ers).

    December 21, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. Logic in LA

    There cannot be a winner and certainly no stalemate since it was not a war- it was an invasion by America into a country we had no business attacking.
    Sure Hussein was an awful man, but neither he or the Iraqi people attacked us on 9/11. We lost too many Americans and killed too many Iraqi civilians to call this a anything but a tragedy and a blemish on the American record.

    December 21, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. Josh

    "GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    Thank you for holding up a campaign promise and ending this God forsaken war of deceit. Welcome home troops!"

    He did not keep his promise. His promise was...."the first thing i will do as president is get us out of this war....and you can take that to the bank."

    Then he said 16 months which was another broken promise.

    Finally, what we have here is Bush's time table for withdraw set out before Obama took office.

    December 21, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  20. Josh

    Let us not forget who received the most campaign donations from the military. Ron Paul. More than all of the other repubs combined and more than Obama head to head.

    December 21, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. SecedingfromTexas

    @Joan
    ****************
    Thank you.

    December 21, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. macrasta

    thanks Mr President for bringing our troops home.. and the Republican candidates are un-educated about everything especially about the lies told to start the war.. and the agreement signed by who and why with Iraq.

    December 21, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Joan your post was right on point. Thank you.

    December 21, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  24. v_mag

    Before the Iraq War started, I was in the streets protesting it. I demand an apology from all the Repugnants and others who condemned me and other protestors as unAmerican and who now acknowledge that the war was wrong. And they should also apologize to the veterans of that war, because they and their families paid the price for that sorry affair foisted on us by Bush/Cheney and their followers.

    December 21, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  25. John

    Bring the Troops home Is the right thing to do , but they should have never been there in the first place. They where there on a Republican LIE about WMD In which they has none.

    December 21, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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