Two-thirds of Americans say the fighting in Iraq may be beyond the U.S. military's ability to control, according to the latest CBS News poll. Just 25 percent say the military can be effective in lessening the violence between Iraqis.
The war continues to take a toll on opinions about President Bush – his approval rating for handling Iraq is just 27 percent, and his overall job approval is just 32 percent – but the public is divided when it comes to what Congress should do about the war.
While 63 percent disapprove of the president's plan to send more troops to Iraq, there's a nearly even split on whether Congress should pass a nonbinding resolution expressing disapproval of the troop buildup: 44 percent favor passage of the measure and 45 percent are opposed.
CAN U.S. MILITARY BE EFFECTIVE IN LESSENING FIGHTING BETWEEN IRAQIS?
A majority, 53 percent, thinks Congress should either block all funding for the war, or block funding for sending more troops; 42 percent think Congress should allow all funding for the war.
BUSH IRAQ APPROVAL
BUSH OVERALL JOB APPROVAL
A majority of Democrats, 57 percent, thinks Congress should pass the resolution against sending more troops, while 65 percent of Republicans think it should not be passed.
Views of how the war is going remain bleak and there's little sign that Americans see the situation in Iraq improving. Only one in four say the war is going well for the U.S., while 72 percent say it's going badly.
WHAT SHOULD CONGRESS DO ABOUT FUNDING FOR WAR?
Block all funding
Block funding for more troops
Allow all funding
Just one in 10 say things in Iraq are getting better, while half think the situation is deteriorating. Another four in 10 think things are staying about the same.
There's also increasing concern that the war in Iraq could lead to a larger war in the Middle East. Fifty-nine percent now say a larger war is likely, a dramatic shift from April 2003, in the early stages of the war, when just 35 percent thought that was likely.
THINGS IN IRAQ ARE GETTING…
Staying the same
Although U.S. military officials presented evidence over the weekend that Iran has been supplying weapons to Iraqi insurgents, just one in five Americans say Iran is a threat requiring a military response now. Fifty-seven percent say Iran can be dealt with diplomatically, while 14 percent don't see Iran as a threat now.
Looking ahead to the 2008 presidential campaign, about one in four voters say a candidate's stand on Iraq will serve as a litmus test for whether or not to vote for them. Nine percent say they will only back a candidate who supports the war, while 15 percent will only back an anti-war candidate.
But most voters say the war will be an important factor in their decision on whom to support - but not the only one. Seventy-three percent say a candidate's position on Iraq, along with other issues, will determine how they vote.
This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,142 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone February 8-11, 2007. 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.