NEW YORK – The latest FOX News Poll finds that most Americans believe the situation in Iraq makes a difference to their security here in the United States — a sentiment often repeated by President Bush. Even so, a majority continues to oppose the president’s plan to send more troops to Iraq.
President Bush’s job performance rating is up a couple ticks — currently 38 percent of Americans approve and 54 percent disapprove. In the week prior to his State of the Union speech, 35 percent approved and 58 percent disapproved (16-17 January 2007).
Republicans returning to the positive column helped buoy the president’s rating; after dipping into the 70s and even the high 60s, this is the first time 80 percent of his fellow GOPers have approved of the job he’s doing since before the midterm elections (October 2006).
As for the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, 33 percent of voters approve of the job Congress is doing and 44 percent disapprove, with 22 percent saying they are unsure.
Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from January 30 to January 31. The poll has a 3-point error margin.
Fully 77 percent of Americans believe that what happens in Iraq matters to their security here in the United States, including majorities of Democrats (66 percent), independents (79 percent) and Republicans (90 percent).
In addition, the poll finds that people believe the military should use more force against the insurgents. While 1 of 10 Americans think the military’s response to the continuing violence in Iraq has been too aggressive, a 44 percent plurality thinks it hasn’t been aggressive enough. A third (32 percent) think the military’s response has been "about right."
Republicans (56 percent) and independents (46 percent) are more likely than Democrats (35 percent) to think the military should be more aggressive in responding to the insurgents.
Views on President Bush’s new plan for Iraq remain essentially unchanged from earlier in the month: 35 percent of Americans support sending more troops to Iraq and 57 percent oppose it — almost identical to results from polling conducted the week after the president proposed his plan in a primetime speech to the nation.
The president and his administration have asked that the plan be given a chance to work, and though many Americans agree it should be given a chance (41 percent), nearly half say no, it is clear the plan will not succeed (49 percent). The partisan divide here is extremely telling: 82 percent of Republicans think Bush’s plan should be given a chance to work, while 76 percent of Democrats say it should not.
"It is clear that Americans are extremely skeptical about the Bush plan," said Opinion Dynamics Chairman John Gorman. "This war has lasted a long time and Americans are tired of the apparent lack of progress."
Looking at a broader list of options for handling the situation in Iraq, a slim majority of Americans (52 percent) thinks U.S. troops should pull out of Iraq either immediately (12 percent) or gradually over the next year (40 percent), with 34 percent saying they think U.S. troops should stay until Iraqi troops are capable of taking control, and 9 percent saying send more troops.
Among Republicans, a majority (55 percent) supports having U.S. troops stay until the Iraqi troops are ready. A similar number of Democrats (57 percent) supports pulling out gradually over the next year.
Congress has been considering a non-binding resolution expressing opposition to the president’s plan to send more troops. By almost two-to-one Americans think passing such a resolution would do more harm than good: 47 percent say it is more likely to encourage the enemy and hurt troop morale, compared with 24 percent who think it would make a positive difference to U.S. policy toward Iraq.