August 16th, 2007
02:01 PM ET
16 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. Kristy Sanborn Dixon, Mo.

    Andrew Rivera...only 'cowards' attack when unprovked? I see you didn't post where your from, you're remark of such after what happened to our country on 9/11, only a terrorist in MY opinion (especially when they didn't put where they are from and CNN STATES "Comments that do NOT include your name, city, and STATE will NOT be posted", looks like CNN cannot even uphold their own policy with your posting, Andrew AND CNN. Guess they all stick together, huh?
    Steven in SC, no, 'communist' is NOT a pretty word, but it has real meaning. Your words about 9/11 "at the hands OF intolerance and hatred" should tell YOU something, who's 'hand's' steven? TERRORIST's 'hands' Steven, thats WHO'S 'hands' and if you were a TRUE friend of the TWO friends YOU lost, you would not be saying anyone disagreeing with the President (Commander in Chief) is being "unpatriotic" if they don't agree with this war. Where was I? Getting ready for work, and then I couldn't go to work, I cried with the Nation, only now the MAJORITY of the SAME Nation forgets 9/11 don't they? I am a very fortunate person, as I live close to a VERY large Military base, and I know for a FACT why we are at war, period.
    Jeff from SanFrancisco, I don't know where you get your opinion, but its opinions of Americans like yours that is what is wrong with this country. For your information, Mr. Robert Gates, the Secretary of Defense, he cancelled a very important trip to assist in this report, so you are talking about people and a report you have NO clue about.
    I think Anna is a product of some very bad media, as President (you have NO respect, do you?) George W. Bush is NOT the one who attacked and killed thousands in the WTC.
    For your information, H. Clinton said in an speech the Iraq Goverment is on vacation. Check the "ticker" its on there. So is my reply, well, IF CNN prints it that is.
    August 11, 2007 Iraqi providence's Govorner and Chief of Police were blown up and KILLED by a Bomb, and that is Hilary's Idea of being on a 'VACATION'?
    thats probably who you will vote for, Anna, right?
    Larry from Fairfax, for one lately, Putin is surrounding himself with KGB, and your talking about OUR President?
    I hope you can prove what you just said about "Bush Sr", but thats ok, just makes me wonder what you are on. Our actions are not creating more terrorists, but maybe it is sucking them out into the open.......
    posted by iraq, CNN has NO policy on names, etc. I see that more so now, thank you for pointing that out.
    Greg, you hit the nail on the head. Did you see hilary's remark about the Iraq government being on vacation, thats about as LOW as you GO for a candidate. Acutally, its even lower than alot Americans go that don't support the war, and she wants to be in charge of the SAME Military she isn't supporting now?
    Thats a SCARY thought.
    Evan, how do you figure the war is won yet? That remark is a classic, you need to go to school or something, then you may know that they are still killing people over there, there is no peace yet, and without peace, the war is not over.
    Tom, your first entry, your quote of hillary, skip over to the 'ticker' and read hillay's little quote there, as I said already, I was NOT aware that DYING from a BOMB is being 'on vacation'. Don't even expect me to consider anything you quote of hillary's, as NO one, to INCLUDE hillary clinton is EVER going to convice me dying from a bomb is 'a vacation'.
    That is all I have to say, when you OR hilary can prove to me that a 'vacation' is being blown up by a bomb, then we will talk about who is lying and who isn't.
    Lucas, if you have read these postings you refer to, and you only see them as some 'sharing their opinion' when they don't agree with this war, I wouldn't know what to tell you EXCEPT that the 'way' they 'share' their 'opinoins' are for one, as opinions I would expect from someone who is a terrorist or a communist, and is there really a difference? 'Personally attacked'? When so called 'American's' get on here and 'share' their 'opinion's' and they feel 'personally attacked', I hope so, because they are already ATTACKING our safety, as a Nation, our safety is at RISK already, and our Soldiers and our leaders are doing EVERYTHING possible to preserve our safety, and anyone who gets on here and says the things they do about the ones who are trying desperately to preserve our safety, I hope they DO feel 'personally attacked'. As they are only feeling this on paper, and if they feel attacked by that, what would they do if the terrorist came kicking in their doors? That would be being 'attacked', and for the ones who seem to wish that on some of us, like Rich said, "we're bringing a tank to a gun fight!!"
    You feel 'personally attacked' Lucas? How do you think America's going to feel if we walk out of this war and they bring it here? You won't have time to be on your computer, it will be here, like it is over there now. And for the ones who wish that on us posting their 'opinion's', ask me if I care if they feel 'personally attacked'. I note how 'careful' some are on making their 'borderline' insinuations about our Military, and Lucas, I do NOT care what they think, or HOW they feel, if they want to attack the ones who are protecting us,
    feeling 'personally attacked' would be too good for them anyway.
    It is amazing though how some of them like Steven in SC can 'twist' someone's words. I don't even see where Rich said anything near how Steven interpretated it. I always say when people do that, that it goes in one ear (so to speak) and does a few flips or flops, and comes out their mouths (or to fingertips on the keyboard) as something completely different. As Steven from Charlseton, SC would like people to take what Rich said, as what Steven thinks.
    What do think we are Steven? People who can't read Rich's words for how they are meant? Would you love that if you could do that? If you could take Rich's words and twist them as you did into YOUR version, and make people believe them? Thats the ONLY reason a person does that, you are aware of that, right? Which, Steven, does not give many Americans reading your words much credit for being able to think for themselves, does it? And your little touch of 'sarcasm', couldn't resist, could you?
    I say this to Rich. When you asked what did our grandparents know that we don't? Is he playing for the other team? I think so, and if you know that we threw Tokyo Rose in prison for saying similiar things, you already know what grandparents knew!
    If only many others did.

    August 21, 2007 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  2. 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 |
  3. 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 |
  4. 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 |
  5. 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 |
  6. 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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