A Turn In Opinion?

In my Creators Syndicate column this week, I argued that we may be seeing a turn in opinion on Iraq. I singled out the "A War We Just Might Win" opinion article by Brookings Institution scholars Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack and cited some CBS/New York Times poll numbers.

Now, there's additional evidence for the progress of the surge in this Associated Press report and of a turn in opinion from the Gallup/USA Today poll. Respondents were asked whether the increased number of troops was "making the situation better" or "not making much difference."

Last month the balance of opinion was decidedly negative, 22 to 51 percent. Now it is significantly less negative, 31 to 41 percent. (The number saying it was making the situation worse was a statistically identical 24 and 25 percent in the two polls. Yes, I know that that's still a negative score. But remember, as I pointed out in my column, that the median state and median congressional district as measured by 2004 voting was more Republican than the nation as a whole. That's because George W. Bush carried 31 of the 50 states and 255 of the 435 congressional districts. A couple of polls don't establish definitively that opinion on the surge is moving in a positive direction. But it's evidence that it may be. We need to keep watching.)

Here, via Dean Barnett on hughhewitt.com, are polling numbers from the University of Michigan on the increasing percentage of Iraqis who identify primarily as Iraqis rather than as Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds.

By Michael Barone