August 9th, 2007
06:51 PM ET
16 years ago

Poll: America can, but won't, win the war in Iraq

WASHINGTON (CNN) - America can win the war in Iraq, but most Americans think that, in the end, the country won't succeed, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Thursday.

"Most Americans think that the war is winnable - and that's a notable change since March - but a majority still doesn't think that the U.S. will win," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "Back in 2004, just 37 percent thought the U.S. would not win in Iraq, but by 2006, that number had grown to 56 percent, essentially where it is today."

According to the poll, 54 percent of Americans do think that the country has the ability to win the war in Iraq, but fewer people think America is currently winning or will win the war. Only 32 percent think the United States is winning and 42 percent think the country will win in the end.

But the Bush administration still may have convinced more people that the war in Iraq is worthwhile. Now, 33 percent of Americans favor the war, as opposed to the all-time low of 30 percent in June.

The poll is based interviews with 1,029 adults. The question on the war's favorability has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent, and the other questions have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.

- CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich

Filed under: Iraq
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Carl, Dallas, Texas

    Uhh we are the third party in a civil war...

    It's impossible to win...

    Honestly, I know we are fighting people against the government, but it's turning into Sunni vs. Shi'ite....

    Although since we all but "clensed" the Native American population from their lands 125 years ago, this country is again showing the worst in ourselves, when we could be doing so much better....

    Bring the troops home and put a few in Sudan with UN troops!

    August 10, 2007 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. katwac Oakland, Calif

    Mt. Holland, just who are these adults you polled. Give me a break, how in the world can Bush's approval rate be up suddenly and most Americans – all of a sudden believe we can win the war in Iraq??? I don't know who you folks think Americans are but we are not STUPID no way Bush can be liked by everyone all of a sudden.

    And now the administration is turning to the UN for help in Iraq?? They defied the UN when they went into this war against the UN's better advice and now they need the UN!!!!
    And why all of a sudden are news channels not reporting on the war??Has everything come to a standstill over there – no one is dying, being bombed????

    August 10, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. HomeoftheBrave

    Of course CNN doesn't want to ask why America will not win the war in Iraq.

    Congressional traitors?
    Anti-Freedom protesters?
    Military Incompetence?

    August 10, 2007 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. Dan, Columbia MD

    Huh? Where was this poll taken?

    The next few months are going to be interesting. The Democrats have dug quite a hole for themselves and it's in their best political interest for America to lose this war.

    And that makes me a very sad panda. 🙁

    August 10, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. Thomas, Baton Rouge, LA

    Win? What is there to win? We broke their government, now they have none (to speak of). We are holding a spiked grenade, and thrown away the pin. If we hold it, we bleed to death, if we let go, it explodes.

    Good job, W.

    August 10, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Roy, Pensacola FL

    Why are you blocking or boycotting Ron Paul. I am a life long Republican. I am also an Iraqi War veteran and disabled veteran. Is this america or a conspiracy state. He is the only candidate , The rest are all the same. I can't tell the difference between Dems and Republicans any more. I beg you please help Ron Paul save our great Republic. To me my friends and family he is our only and best hope. For our children for our future, we must have a tomorrow . The country cannot go on as is. I beg you in Gods name to support this great american. Restorer of the Republic and last defender of the Consitution.

    August 10, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  7. Ted, Long Beach, CA

    Winning this war is currently not possible, not due to military incompetence but the fact that the military is being micromanaged by individuals who have 0 military experience.

    World War II was won because we realized that you can't win a war without going after the centers of gravity. That involved bombing places like Berlin and other major cities where manufacturing was taking place in support of the war. During the Vietnam War we were so worried about civilian casulties that we didn't bomb factories because we would kill "innocent" civilians. Also the military ran the show in Germany and Japan after the war, not some bureacratic dope who happened to have a degree.

    Just as the statement "we support the troops, but not the war" is completely naieve so is the idea of not destroying the supporters of a terrorist organization.

    War is hell, there are no ifs, ands, or buts about that. Just like the British lost the Revolutionary war because they couldn't imagine fighting in such a uncivilized manner, we will lose this war because we are more worried about being "civilized" then winning.

    August 10, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    I'm still waiting for Bush and company to define winning. It changes as the situation in Iraq changes. It is obvious that even knowing of the potential hazards Bush had no plans in place to deal with them, which has led us to this disaster called Iraq.
    Instead of hoping for the best, but planning for the worst, Bush hoped for the best and planned for the best. A fools plan. Winning? Think about that for a moment, Sunni hate Shiite, Shiite hate Sunni, a religious hatred going back over 1000 years. Shiite looking for revenge on the Sunni because of the brutal oppression of the Shiite under Saddam. Now throw in the Kurds who were slaughtered by Saddam and the Sunni's. And into this violent mix George Bush put our country. Come spring 2008 even according to the pentagon we will have to begin drawing down the number of troops in Iraq then what? What ever gains made by our military will vanish.

    August 10, 2007 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. john, NY,NY

    It is amazing how the results of these polls keep changing slowly and steadily from against war to towards the war. It swings between total rejection of war , then " we can win , but wont " , then to "we will win" and then sanction another 300 billion to war and impose public restrictions. the truth is not coming out about how people dead in iraq or how much money spent. It is varying wildly from source to source. is it because Not many people are asking for truth or some how they getting manipulated.

    August 10, 2007 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  10. Independent Voter, TN

    Everyone loves a winner. Look at the polls back in 2002 qnd 2003. Bush was practically beloved by most of the nation because we were perceived to be winning in Afghanistan and Iraq. Fast forward to 2007 and things have really changed due to the protracted course of the conflict in Iraq.

    As Greg in Phoenix noted, we did win the war and accomplish regime change (also a goal of Clinton and the Dems back in the late 90's, by the way) and provided freedom and a chance at Democracy for the Iraqi people.

    What happened is we didn't win the peace. In our belief that we would be greeted as liberators, we seriously miscalculated what it would take to stabilize, reconstruct and reconfigure the country. We disbanded all of the bureaucracies of Iraq including the army, threw out all Baath party members, did not secure arms and weapons caches, did not secure the borders with Syria and Iran, etc, etc.

    So to all of you who are asking about winning the war, we did. However, as Bush 41 and his administration wisely realized after the first Gulf war, removing Sadaam created a vacuum that could not easily be filled as there was no organized opposition or alternative once he was removed from power.

    But, if things continue to improve through the surge and the Sunnis and Shias continue to recognize that the extremists are the real enemy, it's possible...just possible, that there might be an outcome that might look more like a "conventional" victory. I wouldn't wager on that happening, but it would be interesting to see.

    August 12, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. Steve, Tempe, Arizona

    Win in Iraq? You have to be kidding. The ONLY thing for certain that Bush's illegal, immoral and unjustified invasion of a country that had N-O-T-H-I-N-G to do with the September 11th attacks has done is create 2-3 more generations of radicals who will continue to attack targets all over America. Al-Qadea DID NOT exist in Irag until AFTER the invasion. What has President Bush done for the millions who have fled the country, are without basic utilities (some for years now)or have been made orphans or disabled from the war that he authorized? How has this sad-excuse for a president been able to continue? THAT is question the pollsters should be asking.

    August 13, 2007 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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