Public Ready to Withdraw from Iraq

The New York Times poll about Iraq is pretty stunning. 56 percent of respondents think the United States should “set a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq”. A whopping 72 percent think the war in Iraq is “making the U.S. image in the world… worse.” And 41 percent think the U.S. presence in Iraq is leading to “less stability” in the Middle East (as opposed to a mere 25 percent who thinks it’s leading to “greater stability.”)

At this point, it appears that any candidate—Democrat or Republican—who truly believes that withdrawing from Iraq is the least bad of the very bad options available has no political reason for refraining from saying so. Meanwhile, on the partisan front, 42 percent of respondents thought that Democrats were “more likely to make the right decisions about the war in Iraq,” compared to 36 percent who thought Republicans were more likely to do so. I wonder how those numbers would change if Democrats came out more strongly in favor of a timetable for getting out.

I also wonder how to square this with the fact that, according to a poll published a few days ago, over half the people in this country falsely believe Saddam Hussein had WMDs, and 55 percent of respondents believe that “history will give the U.S. credit for bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq.” Maybe they can be reconciled. Maybe polls just show that people are usually quite confused.