June 23rd, 2014
12:22 PM ET
9 years ago

Poll: Is U.S. doing enough to quell Iraqi fighting?

Washington (CNN) - Half the public says the U.S. doesn't have a responsibility to do something about escalating bloodshed in Iraq, according to a new national poll.

The CBS News/New York Times survey released Monday also indicates a plurality of Americans say President Barack Obama has had the appropriate response so far to the aggressive drive by radical Sunni militants in capturing city after city in northern and central Iraq as they march towards Baghdad.

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According to the poll, which was conducted over the weekend, 50% of those questioned say the U.S doesn't have a responsibility to do anything about the fighting, with 42% saying Washington does have a responsibility to get involved.

There's a partisan divide, with a majority of independents and Democrats saying the U.S. doesn't have a responsibility and a majority of Republicans disagreeing.

Latest CNN reporting on bloodshed in Iraq

The survey's release came as Secretary of State John Kerry, in Baghdad Monday, said that U.S. support for Iraq will be "intense" and "sustained," and will be effective if Iraqi leaders unite to face the militant threat.

President Obama's actions

Forty-one percent of those questioned say the President's response to the crisis has been appropriate, with nearly three in 10 saying Obama should do more and 22% saying he should do less. As expected, there's a wide partisan divide on that question, with a majority of Republicans saying the President should do more, and more than six in 10 Democrats saying Obama's had the right response.

The poll also indicates that 44% of Americans say the violence in Iraq will cause the threat of terrorism in the U.S. to rise, with half of those questioned saying it will stay the same.

The CBS News/New York Times poll was conducted June 20-22, with 1,009 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: Iraq • Poll
soundoff (189 Responses)
  1. S.B. Stein

    @freedom, I have to disagree. If there had been a status of forces agreement, we might have stayed longer. That wouldn't have changed much because Maliki would have had a government that didn't include everyone leaving this lingering distrust.

    June 23, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  2. jaydavid666

    We took a terrible situation...and made it much, much worse.
    But about half of all Americans, the ones that want more intervention, are terminally and hopelessly S T U P I D.

    June 23, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  3. GlenR

    The poll needed another question for the GOP supporters...

    If you think we should do more are you willing to go to Iraq and place your own life on the line. Then lets see if that number matches the 'do more' number.

    June 23, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  4. rla

    What a simpleton question: this is way beyond Iraq! We have alienated just about everyone in the region, let Russia and Iran become players and have limited believability because of this president and his progressive base... Please when you look back over a decade or so and see the result of this administration who got voted in because he is black and a good orater there will be blood in the USA and (IHOPE NOT) internal division and conflict that will destroy this unique country! GO LIBERAL?PROGRESIVES NOT!

    June 23, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. salty dog

    Obama's fault again, man everything that's wrong is his fault, and only the perfect gop can save us, hurry OB one

    June 23, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  6. C

    Both of these factions are our enemy's. Let them do what they want to each other and not get involved!

    June 23, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  7. JJ

    This is not our problem anymore, We saved that country from Saddam, They now fight each other over religious matters, They cannot get along no matter what, Let one take over the other, It is an internal matter, Get our people out of there period. When they settle their differences, we can re-establish an embassy.

    June 23, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  8. Ken

    Oh, we haven't done enough? Billions of dollars, thousands of lives, tons of equipment etc.over the years and the Iraqis still can't save THEIR country. It is a modern day Vietnam. The Middle East is a boiling pot that will never resolve itself, so U. S., STAY OUT!

    June 23, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. John

    It is happening for one main reason....Malaki has not included the Sunni's in the government and decision making........this has everything to do with this war.....ISIS could not have advanced without SUNNI co operation.....

    June 23, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  10. swagmaster

    The amount arrogance and ignorance in these comments is astounding. Dehumanizing an entire nation of people and failing to see that the current instability in Iraq is a direct result of meddling in the region is testament to why Americans are often viewed as being idiots.

    What do you think happens when you topple a stable regime? It creates a power vacuum. If you're going to overthrow an established government, you damn well better govern the region yourself. These sectarian problems, while having existed for a long time, did not escalate until after our supervision of the Iraqi government ended. Malaki, the Prime Moron of Iraq, began his oppression towards Sunni's after we turned our backs.

    We created this mess. We created it when we invaded Iraq. We created it after we left. It's our damn mess and it is our responsibility to clean it up because, clearly, the Iraqi's are too disorganized to stand up to an efficient mercenary army.

    Regardless of varying opinions on whether we should or should not intervene; regardless of how "savage" or "uncivilized" bigots find the suffering people of Iraq to be, it can be agreed upon almost unanimously that the organization behind the current invasion of Iraq, ISIS/ISIL, is bad news. If we don't stop them while they are contained to Iraq and Syria, we're going to have a much bigger monster on our hands. If they take over Iraq, they are going to be in control of a great chunk of the world's oil wells. They have already threatened attacks on American soil. Why are we waiting to intervene? They make the Taliban and Al'Qaida pale in comparison. Due to their resources, they pose an actual threat to us, or allies, and our enemies. They are committing countless war crimes and effectively trying to insinuate a genocide of Shia's.

    The imbeciles calling to let the Iraqi's and ISIS fight it out are blind to the bigger picture. The last thing we want is an organized, genocidal terrorist army conquering the Middle East.

    June 23, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. Psalm 19

    Question: With the exception of one country ruthlessly attacking another; what right does one sovereign country have to meddle in the affairs of another sovereign country? Who or what gives it this right????!!!
    "for their feet (the wicked) run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood".
    Prov. 1:16 (ESV)

    June 23, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  12. Bill

    Obama is doing too much at this point. We never should have started this but now we need to just let them kill each other.

    June 23, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. lvg

    We have a responsibility to contain ISIS and all Sunni terrorist groups which originate from radical Muslim beliefs of Wahabis in Saudi Arabia and maybe finally acknowledge the Saudi complicity in worldwide terror including 9-11.That includes detaining all American Muslims who join the cause and come back to foment terror at home. The Sunnis in Iraq have been rebelling since Bush invaded and overthrew there benefactor, Sadaam. If they are forced to coexist with ISIS, they will realize they have bedded down with a worse enemy than Maliki and the Shiites. We need to appeal to the more moderate Sunnis in Syria and Iraq to contain the cancer spreading in their midst. This cannot be done by us going in with ground troops no more than US could contain the Viet Cong in South Vietnam. We have a duty to help protect Jordan, Turkey, the Kurds and Israel from ISIS . Let Iran fight for the right of Shiites to remain in power in Iraq. Have we learned from Vietnam and Iraq not to put our forces and money at risk for internal disputes of foreign countries?

    June 23, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  14. 1alien1

    out of curiousity, how many of those inclined to DO MORE have sons and daughters in the service? we all know the answer to that one, don't we. was the younger bush sent to war? nope, he sat home and flew training missions in the air national guard. what about chaneys war record? oh thats right he dodged the draft. funny how it works in washington d.c. (district of cowards)

    June 23, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. steve

    Let all the Arabs kill each other until they learn to live in peace. We broke it. We can't fix it.

    June 23, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. smith

    Before the chaos erupted in Iraq liberals gave credit to Obama for ending the war and the GOP gave credit to Bush. Now, the liberals say it was Bush and the GOP say it was Obama. smh. Glad to be an Independent.

    June 23, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. Orolandes O'Rourke

    Only Tea Terrorists consider progress bad and thus progressive as an insult.

    June 23, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. Chris-E...al

    Well i see the remaining wmd's from Iraq are leaving Syria today . That is a great thing . The world is a little safer place .

    June 23, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. Day

    @ Nodack and others,

    I'm a Rep. but I also know that another POTUS can change a former POTUS' position and the pull out not to have proceeded.

    With that said I don't think this is a R or a D issue, it's a government issue and contract issue. The time line could have been changed however I'm glad it wasn't but also Iraq should have agree to our troops having immunity but they wouldn't so our POTUS (current) did the right thing to protect our military.

    My other position is what are we doing? Didn't the USA require a Civil War and I didn't see anyone trying to stop it. Why should another country possibly NEED a Civil War to stabilize? Just a thought but I'm glad we're out and no, I don't believe our Pres (remember I"m a R.) pulled out due an election as he TRIED TO KEEP SOME THERE.

    Just look at the facts, it makes a lot more sense than opinions.

    June 23, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Is there any reasonable expectation that intervention by the U.S. (or for that matter any other nation) will make the slightest difference in the outcome. Biden had it right BEFORE the Bush intervention – Iraq should be divided into three separate nations – Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites! They all hate each other and will NEVER be able to form a single nation. Bush used invented "facts" to intervene in the first place – Obama managed to get us out of there – why would we wish to go back?

    June 23, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  21. jacknyd

    Poll: Is U.S. doing enough to quell Iraqi fighting?

    The liberals will tell you we should not be there. However they would turn their backs on anyone. We should not had gone in the 1st place, But since we did we are committed to helping these people.

    June 23, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. Amazed

    The other undeniable truth about the Middle East is that it is the epitome of instability. Because of world demand for energy , that has elevated this section of the world to a level of high importance and has helped fund terrorist oriented groups. We are all guilty (the U.S., Europe and Asia) of enabling these despotic regimes through our purchase of their energy supplies. Now we finally have a chance to develop our own energy and reduce our dependence on unstable parts of the world. Think about it for a minute, what if Middle Eastern energy revenue were to dry up? They would no longer be able to hold us hostage to their internal struggles. While we are using our own energy sources, it will buy us time to develop clean alternative to carbon based fuels. Most importantly, it would deny the corrupt regimes in the Middle East the ability to influence world events.

    June 23, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  23. jacknyd

    Poll: Is U.S. doing enough to quell Iraqi fighting?
    Liberals will say NO But since we were committed we should be helping. I never voted for Bush nor did i approve of going into Iraq, But once you commit to something you just don't quit.

    June 23, 2014 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  24. Tony

    @GIJOE Let's clarify a few things:

    1. George Bush signed the status of forces agreement that dictated US troops leave Iraq. This was done before President Obama took office. His campaign promises had nothing to do with it.

    2. There were no terrorists organizations in Iraq before the US invasion. Saddam Hussein wasn't a saint, but his desire to run Iraq according to his own desires lead to him keeping the jihadists at bay. The terrorist didn't come to Iraq until we did.

    3. This entire situation is happening because of Nouri al-Maliki's (lack of) leadership. Instead of a secular government he has chosen to favor the Shia (Maliki is a Shiite) and has dealt harshly with anyone who disagrees with him (much like Saddam Hussein). Maliki is in league with the Iranians (also Shia). The reason they refused to come to an agreement with the Obama administration to keep US forces in Iraq is because the Maliki and the Iranians didn't want us there.

    4. This is the same Shia versus Sunni conflict that has been going on in that region for more than 1000 years. To keep the peace we would have to send US troops into Iraq and keep them there indefinitely. I don't know about you, but I'm not willing to see more of our soldiers killed or maimed in a never ending conflict that has no end game. It's their problem, let them solve it.

    5. You're right, words won't solve it. But neither will sending American troops. Once we leave the fighting would just start all over again, meaning any American soldiers who die in that conflict will have essentially died for nothing. If lives are to be lost, let's make sure they're not American lives.

    6. Vote for who you will, that's your right. But don't think the Republicans are going back to Iraq. They don't want to live through this nightmare again either. Everything we were told about the Iraq war was a lie and their support for the war hurt them in the polls. They don't want to go through that again. Repubs will use the current situation to their advantage when it comes to scoring political points, but that's the limit of their hawkish behavior.

    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish... It's another way of saying they have to learn to do it for themselves.

    June 23, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. tom l

    "Moreover, Dubya signed the SOFA, which Obama implemented as it was supposed to be implemented, pulling the troops out as agreed"

    I keep reading this from some of the members of the gang. I find this a fascinating quote. So, basically, it was Bush who got us out of Iraq and not Obama as demonstrated by this comment yet they love to take credit for Obama getting us out of Iraq. How does Biden say this:

    "I am very optimistic about - about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration."

    If the wheels were in motion and everything was put in place by the SOFA signed by Bush then how does Obama and Biden take credit? You can't have it both ways, guys. If you are, once again, placing blame on Bush for this (which is fair and I agree Bush obviously shares much of the blame for the disaster that is Iraq) then why did you take credit for the withdrawal? I mean, you just told me it was already in place from Bush so how can Obama claim this was his doing? It is so funny to watch you guys spin to do everything possible to make sure your team looks good.

    June 23, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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