Thursday, July 17, 2008

North Carolinians and the Iraq war

Post by PPP summer fellow John Willingham:

This week’s poll shows that North Carolinians are becoming increasingly frustrated about the situation in Iraq… or at least confused. While a majority of respondents felt the U.S. should have stayed out, there was considerable division of opinion among them over the number of troop levels. No real significant plurality emerged over the issue of how many troops should continue to be in Iraq; however, only 12% felt the need to increase troop levels in Iraq.

Much of this frustration and confusion most likely stems from the fact that winning and losing is difficult to judge in a counterinsurgency operation. For the past five years, the U.S. military has been fighting a counterinsurgency campaign framed in traditional battlefield terms. The administration’s ability to “set the goalposts” for victory and defeat has often changed, making it difficult for ordinary citizens to make an informed decision on whether or not the U.S. is winning or losing. Measuring success is difficult in this sense and, in some respect, this poll reveals the problematic nature of maintaining consistent and decisive public support in a counterinsurgency campaign.

Obviously, the crosstabs in this most recent poll reveal the polarizing nature of the Iraq War. The numbers show that Republicans and conservatives are much more likely to think the U.S. did the “right thing” in invading Iraq, while majorities of independents and Democrats believed the U.S. should have “stayed out.”

The Evangelical measure was not as predictive as I initially thought. Once again, then number of “born again” Christians in the survey was extremely high and can almost be taken with a grain of salt; however, when forced to decide on the issue of U.S. involvement in Iraq, “born again” Christians were split over whether the U.S. did the right thing or should have stayed out.

Full results here.

No comments:

Web Statistics