by Jonathan Singer, Tue Feb 13, 2007 at 04:48:26 AM EST
There is a sense among the pundits and even many within the halls of Congress that while the American people are strongly opposed to the Iraq War and specifically to President Bush's proposal to increase the number of American troops in the conflict, voters would not welcome the type of actions required to stop the escalation -- either cutting off funds for new troops or passing legislation limiting the President's ability to widen the war. Not so, however, says new polling (or other polling in the recent and somewhat recent past, for that matter).
A new CBS News survey of American adults in the field Thursday through Sunday with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points finds that a majority of Americans want to see Congress use the power of the purse to block the so-called "surge" in troops, with a 45 percent plurality favoring cutting off funding for more troops and an additional 8 percent backing a complete freeze on spending. This 53 percent combined figure compares favorably to the just 44 percent who support Congress passing a non-binding resolution on Iraq, though it is significantly lower than the 68 percent who disapprove of the President's handling of Iraq, the 67 percent who believe the U.S. military can effectively stop violence between Iraqis and the 63 percent who oppose sending 20,000 more American troops into the country.
The numbers found by CBS jibe well with a Gallup poll of American adults in the field Friday through Sunday, which also had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. According to Gallup, 60 percent of Americans oppose sending more troops to Iraq, with strong majorities favoring a timetable for withdrawal of American troops (63 percent) and capping the number of American troops in Iraq (57 percent). In a question asked slightly differently than asked by CBS, however, Gallup finds less support -- just 40 percent -- for cutting of funds to send more troops to Iraq, but slightly more support -- 51 percent -- for a non-binding resolution condemning the increase in troops.
These numbers fairly clearly show that while there may unfortunately not be the stomach among those in Congress for taking the types of actions necessary to end the war in Iraq in a timely fashion there is such support among the American people. In other words, the American people are ahead of their representatives in Washington on the issue. And while Congress may in the future move forward with attempt to enact more binding legislation in the future, the fate of which seems poor given Senate Republicans' willingness to shill for their unpopular President and his unpopular Iraq policy, the American people are already ready for Congress to start taking real action on Iraq.