George W. Bush more responsible for Iraq violence than Obama: Poll

Iraqi forces and mainly Shiite Muslim volunteers arrive in the predominantly-Sunni Muslim city of Samarra on July 2, 2014, to protect the Shiite Muslim Al-Askari shrine as Jihadist militants of the Islamic State (IS) overrun a large chunk of northern and north-central Iraq. AFP/Getty Images

Both parties in Washington have played the blame game about the recent surge in violence in Iraq, with Republicans blaming President Obama for withdrawing all U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011, and Democrats blaming former President George W. Bush for tearing the country apart in the first place by invading in 2003.

Bad news for Republicans, though: based on a Quinnipiac poll released Thursday, American voters are far more likely to side with Democrats on this one.

Fifty-one percent of voters blame Bush for the violence, while only 27 percent blame Mr. Obama.

Sixty-one percent of voters say the 2003 war in Iraq was the wrong thing to do, and only 32 percent disagree. In a CBS News/New York Times poll released last week, 75 percent of Americans said the invasion of Iraq was not worth it, while only 18 percent said it was worth it.

In Quinnipiac's poll, 58 percent of voters say the president's decision to withdraw all of America's troops from Iraq in 2011 was the right thing to do, while only 37 percent say it was the wrong move. In the CBS News/New York Times poll last week, 50 percent said the U.S. should have withdrawn when it did, while 42 percent said it was a mistake.

According to Quinnipiac, voters also oppose sending ground troops back into Iraq by a 63 to 29 percent margin, including a majority of every party, age, and gender group.

By a 56 to 39 percent margin, voters say it's not in the U.S. national interest to get involved in Iraq again, but 72 of voters believe it is "very likely" or "somewhat likely" Islamic militants would launch a terror attack against the U.S. in the near future if they manage to take over the country.

Despite the broad agreement with his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011 and his refusal to recommit troops to quell the new violence there, Mr. Obama still gets poor marks for his handling of the situation in Iraq: 55 percent disapprove, while only 37 percent approve.

And the president's stewardship of the war in Afghanistan fares little better, with 52 percent giving a thumbs-down, and 37 percent giving the thumbs-up.

The current pace of troop withdrawals from Afghanistan, which will see almost all combat troops out of the country by the end of this year, is about right, 46 percent of voters say. 26 percent say the president is withdrawing too quickly, and 20 percent say we're not leaving quickly enough.

The Quinnipiac poll also contained some interesting nuggets about gun laws - a divisive issue that saw a big but ultimately unsuccessful push for congressional action last year.

By a margin of 92 to 7, voters (including 86 percent of Republicans and 98 percent of Democrats) support a requirement for all gun buyers to undergo background checks, which was the intent of a Senate bill that was ultimately defeated last April.

And 89 percent of voters support laws to prevent the mentally ill from acquiring guns, while only 9 percent do not.

But when asked more generally about whether they would support "stricter gun control laws," voters are more evenly split, with 50 percent in support and 47 percent opposed.

Quinnipiac's poll surveyed 1,446 registered voters nationwide between June 24 and 30, and it carries a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percent.

  • Jake Miller

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