A new Harris Poll of 2,565 adults has some encouraging news for proponents of the U.S. effort in Iraq. While Americans remain skeptical of the mission and have little trust in either Congress or the president, their view of the situation in Iraq has improved.
- In March, 51% of respondents said the situation for American troops in Iraq was getting worse; now just 32% think so.
- During that same time period, the number saying things are getting better has increased from 13% to 25%.
- The number saying that taking military action against Iraq was 'the right thing to do' has stopped declining, and increased from 34% to 37%.
For those assessing the ballot-box implications of polls like this one, it's worth remembering that Republicans are significantly more likely to vote than Democrats. For that reason, polls of 'adults' tend to underestimate the support for GOP policies by 5-10 percentage points.
The accompanying Associated Press article leads off:
Whether because of the news from Iraq, or the messages from the White House, Americans are less pessimistic than they were about the future prospects in Iraq. The percentage of those who believe that things are getting better for U.S. troops has increased from 13 percent in March and 20 percent in August to 25 percent now.
Annoying. The writer seems to be alleging there are two reasons to be more optimistic about Iraq: Actual facts flowing from the country or happy spin from the White House. As it's mostly Republicans, of course, who have increased support for the war, it seems implicit that we're drooling imbeciles who are "poor, uneducated, and easily led" as the Washington Post once stated.
The opening seems to want to remain agnostic on whether there actually is verifiable good news coming from Iraq, something that even the Washington Post, again, had to admit was true. And yet so as not to discomfit liberal readers, the writer pretends he's not quite sure there is good news coming out of Iraq, and this might just be a PR surge in opinion.
It's also annoying because the press has been doing its level-best not to report the news from Iraq, now that the news has turned hopeful. Do I detect a bit of resentment that the news managed to leak out at all?
I couldn't say whether the AP writer resents the good news getting out, but if Ace is reading it between the lines, he's not the only one.