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Poll: Iraq Going Badly And Getting Worse

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CBS/AP
Americans believe the war in Iraq is going badly and getting worse, and think it's time for the U.S. either to change its strategy or start getting out, according to a CBS News poll.

Forty-three percent say the U.S. should keep fighting, but with new tactics, while 50 percent say the U.S. should begin to end its involvement altogether. Only 4 percent say the U.S. should keep fighting as it is doing now.

Read the complete CBS News poll results.
Just 21 percent approve of President Bush's handling of the war, the lowest number he's ever received, and an 8-point drop from just a month ago. Most of that drop has been among Republicans and conservatives. Three-quarters of Americans disapprove of how the president is handling Iraq.

BUSH'S JOB HANDLING IRAQ

Now
Approve
21%
Disapprove
75%

11/14/2006
Approve
29%
Disapprove
67%

Opposition to the war is now taking on historic proportions, with 62 percent saying it was "a mistake" to send U.S. troops to Iraq — slightly more than told a Gallup Poll in 1973 that it was a mistake to send U.S. forces to Vietnam.

Americans generally agree with the assessment of the Iraq Study Group, which called the situation in Iraq "grave and deteriorating." But fewer than half — 46 percent — think Mr. Bush will seriously consider the bipartisan panel's recommendations; 43 percent think he will not.

Seventy-one percent say the war is going badly, including 39 percent who believe the war is going very badly. Just 25 percent say it's going well. The negative assessment of the war was shared by a majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents.

Half of all Americans believe the situation in Iraq is getting worse, while fewer than one in 10 think it's getting better.

IS THE SITUATION IN IRAQ…?

Getting better
8%
Getting worse
52%
Staying the same
38%

Only 15 percent of Americans — the lowest number ever — say the U.S. is currently winning the war. And for the first time, a majority (53 percent) believes it's not likely that the U.S. will ultimately succeed.

Sixty percent think that Iraq will never become a stable democracy — the highest number ever — while 85 percent now characterize the situation there as a civil war.

WILL THE U.S. SUCCEED IN IRAQ?

Very likely
9%
Somewhat likely
34%
Not very/not at all likely
53%

Fifty-seven percent say Mr. Bush needs to make major changes in his Iraq policy, while 29 percent think only minor changes should be made. Just 8 percent think no changes in U.S. policy are needed.

By a 2-1 margin, Americans now say they have more confidence in congressional Democrats to handle the war than in the president.

Nearly six in 10 Americans want to see some kind of a drawdown in U.S. troop levels, including 25 percent who want all U.S. forces removed from Iraq.

Only 39 percent of Americans now say taking military action against Iraq was the right thing to do, tying the lowest number ever, while 55 percent say the U.S. should have stayed out. The country was evenly divided on this question as recently as a year ago.

For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.


This poll was conducted among a random sample of 922 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone Dec. 8-10, 2006. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher.