WASHINGTON - March 16 – As the four-year anniversary of the Iraq war approaches on March 19th, and Congress debates allocating an additional $100 billion to fund war, a Zogby poll conducted last week found that two-thirds (68%) of 1028 Americans questioned favored short-term withdrawal of troops. One year ago, 72% of the troops in Iraq themselves similarly responded that they favored short-term withdrawal from Iraq.
“U.S. political leaders may talk about supporting the troops, but this poll shows that the American public wants Congress to actually listen to the troops themselves, and bring them home in the short-term,” said Medea Benjamin of the group CODEPINK: Women for Peace, which commissioned several poll questions in the recent Zogby poll.
About 90% of those identifying as progressive/liberal agreed that Congress should begin withdrawal from Iraq, as did 50% of self-identified conservatives and Republicans. Only one in four respondents disagreed with withdrawal.
Another significant finding in the Zogby poll was that a clear majority of respondents (62%) favored reversing tax breaks for oil companies and military contractors to pay for the estimated billion-dollar war deficit. This concept was strongly supported not only by Democrats (74%), but by a plurality of Republicans (47% agreed versus 42% disagreed). This relatively bipartisan result probably reflects long-standing American repugnance toward war profiteering and shirking one’s responsibilities in times of conflict.
“Halliburton, which has made billions of dollar profiting from the Iraq war, is trying to avoid taxes and accountability by moving its headquarters to Dubai. By contrast, Americans clearly want more accountability from companies that are profiting from war. Congress should enact legislation to make these companies pay their fair share for the Iraq occupation, instead of giving them tax breaks that put the burden on working families,” Benjamin said.
The Zogby poll showed that although there was agreement among respondents about the need for short-term withdrawal from Iraq, there were considerable differences about how respondents feel Congress should achieve the withdrawal of troops. For example, one mechanism Congress has for achieving a withdrawal of troops is restriction or capping of funds after some future date, as was done for conflicts in Cambodia (1970), Vietnam (1973), Somalia (1993), and Bosnia (1998). Just over half of respondents, 53%, favored setting a timeline for ending war funds within one year, compared to 43% who wanted no timeline for ending funding of the war.
This was a polarizing question with about 75% of progressive/liberals favoring a one-year timeline and 65% of Republicans opposed to any timeline. Respondents were evenly divided (47% for and against) on whether the new Congress had received a voter mandate in 2006 to restrict war funding. Almost two-thirds of Democrats agreed with that, but 62% of Republicans disagreed. A plurality of respondents of both parties agreed that leaders of the majority Democrats should not try to dictate policy regarding funding or timelines to congressional members.
The telephone survey was sponsored by CODEPINK and carried out by Zogby International on March 7-9, 2007. Details of the procedure and results are available upon request. Zogby International surveys employ sampling strategies in which selection probabilities are proportional to population size within area codes and exchanges. Weighting by region, party, age, race, religion, and gender is used to adjust for non-response. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.