WASHINGTON, DC - March 8 - Pollster Stan Greenberg of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner joined with Americans Against Escalation in Iraq Thursday to release a groundbreaking new poll gauging public opinion on the war in Iraq in the 2008 battleground districts. The poll revealed overwhelming agreement among voters that Congress must mandate a change in course in Iraq by redeploying U.S. troops out of Iraq in early 2008.
The survey is the first poll on Iraq strategy to draw respondents strictly from battleground districts since the 2006 elections. The findings of the survey of voters in the 50 battleground districts for 2008 are troubling for many battleground Republicans, indicating serious vulnerability for candidates who favor escalation of the war in Iraq.
In the battleground, voters are strongly opposed to the president’s new Iraq plans and want their member of Congress to “force the President to change policies and reduce troop levels in Iraq”. The public is strongly supportive of Democratic plans to begin the safe re-deployment for US troops in early 2008. The most popular troop re-deployment plan is the Iraq Study Group plan tied to troop re-deployment in 2008.
Major Findings Include:
- A March 2008 timeline proposal is very popular in these battle ground districts—two thirds of all voters and a like number of independents. It is most popular with our voters when presented in the context of the Iraq Study Group. In the survey, 88 percent of self-identified Democrats favor this proposal. And, even 46 percent of self-identified Republicans favor it.
- Mandatory Troop Protections like those discussed to close the readiness gap received 88 percent support from self-identified Democrats but also 79 percent of self-identified Republicans.
“The mood could not be worse for the Republicans in these competitive congressional districts. A majority of battleground voters want to begin reducing the number of troops and want their member of Congress to vote for change,” said Stan Greenberg of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, the firm that conducted the poll. “Voters are impatient and frustrated with the Iraq war and Republicans are vulnerable to suffering further losses. Incumbent republicans are at grave risk.”
“This should serve as a warning to all pro-escalation candidates up for election in 2008. Americans are demanding a change in course and Members of Congress who block action will be placing themselves on the endangered species list,” said Americans Against Escalation in Iraq spokeswoman Moira Mack. “Safely redeploying our troops is not only the correct policy, it is politically expedient. The failure of any members of Congress to take action to bring our troops home safely will be a major road block for them in the 2008 elections.”
“The poll shows that the issue of the war in Iraq is debilitating to Republicans. The Republicans are extremely vulnerable the Democratic position is strengthened through these actions. Bringing our troops home safely in early 2008 is the right course of action morally and in the national interest of the United States,” said Tom Mattzie, Washington Director of MoveOn.org Political Action.
MoveOn.org Political Action commissioned the poll on behalf of Americans Against Escalation in Iraq which was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.
March 8, 2007
Voters want Congress to mandate change - most troops out by early ‘08
New survey in the 50 battleground districts for 2008 troubling for many battleground Republicans
To: Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, Moveon.org
This new survey in the most competitive battle ground districts shows voters impatient and frustrated with the Iraq war and increasingly, with Congress’ inability to act.1
In the battleground, voters are strongly opposed to the president’s new Iraq plans and want their member of Congress to “force the President to change policies and reduce troop levels in Iraq”; over two-thirds support the Iraq Study Group plan for getting most troops out by early 2008, with similar support for a benchmark plan for the Iraqi government linked to an early 2008 departure.
The Democrats are in a strong electoral position in the 50 top competitive seats – 31 held by Democrats and 19 by Republicans – with the Iraq war and Bush’s escalation unpopular and debilitating, particularly in the suburban competitive districts, and Independents are where Republicans could suffer further losses. A majority in these battleground districts want to begin reducing the number of troops and want their member of Congress to vote for change.
The public is strongly supportive of Democratic plans to begin the safe withdrawal for US troops in early 2008. The most popular troop reduction plan is the Iraq Study Group plan tied to troop reduction in 2008. This plan has the bigger impact in these districts as support is much more intense with a broad range of base voters, including self-identified Democrats and liberals, but also tests higher with moderates and the small-town/rural districts; Independents give equal support to each. There is considerably less support for the idea of rewriting the resolution that authorized the war in the first place.
Major Findings Include:
?? A March 2008 timeline proposal is very popular in these battle ground districts—two thirds of all voters and a like number of independents. It is most popular with our voters when presented in the context of the Iraq Study Group. In the survey, 88 percent of self-identified Democrats favor this proposal. And, even 46 percent of self-identified Republicans favor it. .
?? Mandatory Troop Protections like those discussed to close the readiness gap received 88 percent support from self-identified Democrats but also 79 percent of self-identified Republicans.
The approval of Democrats in Congress on handling Iraq is only 38 percent at the beginning of the poll, two points higher than the approval for Republicans in Congress. Disapproval of the Republicans is 6 points higher, 62 compared to 56 percent. At the end, after hearing about re-deployment of US troops in 2008 and troop protection measures, Democratic approval on Iraq rises to 47 percent, with disapproval falling to parity – a 10-point gain, an important and positive change, achieved by recognizing voters want to mandate responsible troop reductions, enacting a time table for early 2008 using Iraq Study Group or Iraqi benchmarks and acting aggressively to protect our troops. With a majority of voters in these districts wanting their member of Congress to vote for measures to force change in Iraq and with Democrats getting only modest marks for handling the issue now, Congressional inaction would likely produce a pullback from Congressional Democrats.
The Iraq context
The mood could not be worse for the Republicans in these 50 competitive congressional districts: just 24 percent think the country is headed in the right direction and Democrats have an 11-point lead in the named congressional ballot, indeed ahead in the Republican held seats; the Democrat margin in the 50 districts is double their self-reported margin in the 2006 elections and three times their actual margin. In other words, the Democrats’ position in these districts has shifted to a new and stronger place since the election. The Democrats’ lead is now particularly dramatic in their suburban districts, comprising of about half of the competitive seats, and right now, Republicans are behind in their suburban seats.
The war itself is immensely unpopular, including the President’s current plan for Iraq: opposition to the war is 58 percent to 38 percent support. The voters in these competitive districts want to see their member of Congress act to mandate a change in course and reduce troop levels by 53 to 42 percent, an 11-point margin; importantly, Independents favor that mandate by 16 points, above their vote margin for the Democrat.
Proposals for addressing the Iraq question
There is broad and intense support for a number of proposals that are consistent with the voters’ desire to begin a reduction of troop levels. The strongest is the ‘Troop Protection’ option, though that does not specify withdrawal of troops and thus is more a measure of support for aggressive troop protection – an important lesson. But almost 70 percent support the two major proposals for getting most troops out by early 2008 – the Iraq Study Group plan and an Iraqi government benchmark plan; about 45 percent strongly support these. Support for rewriting the resolution that authorized the war gets less support.
While both plans to remove troops by 2008 get broad support, the Iraq Study Group plan gets more intense support in key areas. For base voters and those most attentive to Iraq in these districts, the Iraq Study Group has much more intense support: Democrats (69 to 55 percent) and liberals (66 to 50 percent). That is true, we imagine, because it provides a clearer route to troop reductions. But the Iraq Study Group plan is also somewhat stronger than the Benchmarks plan with moderates (50 to 45), and among those in the small town-rural districts (45 to 40 percent). The two plans win equal support among Independents.