As the United States ends its military presence in Iraq, Americans remain uncomfortable with America’s military activity there: in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, more than half think the United States made a mistake sending troops to fight in Iraq in the first place.
This is not a war Americans believe has been won. Nearly three in four view the withdrawal as coming without victory. 28% say the U.S. effort will end with victory. But fewer than 1% rate the war in Iraq as their most important issue.
And this is not seen as President Obama’s war: 51% think his predecessor, George W. Bush, can be held mostly responsible for the current situation there. Just 16% say that about President Obama.
The President’s approval rating for handling the situation in Iraq remains one of the few ratings where the public places him in positive territory. More Americans approve than not. This week, 45% approve, while 41% do not.
Republicans are much less likely than the public overall to think that Republican President George W. Bush’s 2003 decision to go to war was a mistake. But they are just as pessimistic as Democrats about what will happen next. When it comes to the Iraqi future, nearly half the country (Republicans and Democrats alike) thinks that Iraq will never become a stable democracy.
But even though Americans think the war was a mistake, and that stable democracy in Iraq is unlikely, many see some positive effect. Nearly twice as many Americans think that Iraqi civilians are better off now than they were before the war began than believe the opposite.
Photo source: Press Association