It appears that Americans are less rigid about the precise details of the speed with which U.S. troops are withdrawn from Iraq than might have been thought, as long as at least some withdrawal is underway.
While elected officials in Washington, D.C. make fine-tuned distinctions between the various ways in which troops could be withdrawn, these data suggest that average Americans are not nearly as specific in their wishes. Almost half of Americans support both of two different plans for withdrawal. Factoring this group together with the smaller groups that support just one or the other plan, the results show that either of the plans for withdrawal of troops tested in this research has majority support from the American public.
One interpretation of these findings is that any plan that includes withdrawal has a good chance of gaining at least initial support from Americans. The way the basic questions about the two plans were structured, respondents may not have assumed that they were being asked if one plan was better than another, but rather about each plan as an option in and of itself. Some opponents of the war, in other words, may have felt that some plan to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq was better than no plan at all.
The data do show a slight preference for the plan that speeds up troop withdrawal to the point where most troops would be gone within the next nine months. But that preference is apparently not so rigid that many of those who favor that option would not support a slower plan as well.
In general, these data suggest that Bush administration policy in Iraq is well within the acceptable range for the American public. The results seem to suggest that as long as the administration is beginning the process of withdrawing at least some troops from Iraq, a majority of the American public will be satisfied.
Results for this panel study are based on telephone interviews with 1,006 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Sept. 24-27, 2007. Respondents were drawn from Gallup's household panel, which was originally recruited through random selection methods. The final sample is weighted so it is representative of U.S. adults nationwide. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.
The full results and graphs can be found here.
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