May 31st, 2010
11:12 AM ET
13 years ago

CNN poll: Instability in Iraq could hurt support for U.S. withdrawal

Washington (CNN) - As Americans mark Memorial Day, a new national poll indicates that 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 CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Saturday,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.

Full results [pdf]

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," said 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, Gen. 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 20.

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: Afghanistan • CNN Polls • Iraq
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. ajax

    Bring our troops home!!! if the people there can not stand on their own by now than they deserve to lose their country.

    May 31, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. Remember the Alamo

    If the war isn't won what idiot suggest we withdraw. I DON'T HAVE TO GUESS DO I, OBAMA!!!

    May 31, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. Remember the Alamo

    By the way why isn't OBAMA commenorating the Veterans on Memorial Day instead of hiding away in Chicago. Again he is showing his disrespect for Americans. He wouldn't bow to the Queen, He wouldn't salute the flag. He wouldn't wear the National Emblem. He did kiss a Muslim Leader's hand. Now he insults all Veterans on Memorial Day. I say IMPEACH THIS TRAITOR NOW BEFORE HE DOES ANYMORE DAMAGE.

    PALIN FOR PRESIDENT 2012, ( at least we know she is a citizian and a patroit).

    May 31, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  4. JonDie

    Iraqi politicians deliberately refuse to form a government...and the result is we can't leave? You must be kidding.

    May 31, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  5. Gpenn

    I don't care if the Iraqi's support withdrawl or not. They have had more then enough time to prepare for the withdrawl. If they are not ready it's their own fault. We can not hold their hand forever. We have pressing problems in our own country and we can not afford to keep the huge numbers of troops in Iraq any longer. Our troops need to come home. They will keep us in Iraq forever if we let them. Enough is enough.

    May 31, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |