And now here’s yet another milestone in the southwardly heading polls on the Iraq war: a new Pew Research Center poll finds a “solid majority” of Americans now favor a Congressional deadline to get troops out of Iraq.
The net results of this poll are likely to be:
There is a tiny glimmer of good news in this poll for the White House, but not much:
A solid majority of Americans say they want their congressional representative to support a bill calling for a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq by August 2008. Nearly six-in-ten (59%) say they would like to see their representative vote for such legislation, compared with just 33% who want their representative to oppose it.
Democrats are united in their support of legislation calling for a U.S. troop withdrawal by August 2008, and most independents (61%) also favor this step. Most Republicans oppose this step, but there are substantial divisions within the GOP. More than four-in-ten moderate and liberal Republicans (44%) want their representative to vote for legislation calling for an August 2008 deadline for a troop withdrawal, compared with only about a quarter of conservative Republicans (26%).
And the good news?
Even as the public registers strong support for a congressional deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces, there has been a modest rise in optimism about conditions in Iraq. Four-in-ten Americans say that the U.S. military effort in Iraq is going very or fairly well, up 10 points from February, when positive perceptions reached an all-time low. The shift has come disproportionately among Republicans (up 16 points), though independents and Democrats also are more positive about the situation in Iraq than they were in February (up 10 and nine points, respectively).
So Americans are a bit more optimistic in general — but they want a timetable.
The problem for the administration: it has and is adamantly rejecting any talk of even a non-binding timetable. So the war will HAVE to go well for its political fortunes — and the political fortunes of the Republican party — to rebound since Americans increasingly do not want an open-ended war.