Not the same thing, of course. Now that AP- Ipsos has weighed in, along with CNN, USA/Gallup, WaPo, and Ny Times/CBS, it's helpful to look at the trends and analysis Prof. Charles Franklin has pulled to gather at pollster.com and his home at Political Arithmetik. Franklin helps explain (at least in part) the cognitive dissonance seen in today's headlines. For example, there's
AP Poll: Most See Iraq War As Failure The public sees the Iraq war as a failure and thinks the U.S. troop buildup there has not worked, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll suggesting the tough sell President Bush faces in asking Congress and voters for more time.
The pessimism expressed by most people — including significant minorities of Republicans — contrasted with the brighter picture offered by Gen. David Petraeus. The chief U.S. commander in Iraq told Congress on Monday that the added 30,000 troops have largely achieved their military goals and could probably leave by next summer, though he conceded there has been scant political progress.
By 59 percent to 34 percent, more people said they believe history will judge the Iraq war a complete or partial failure than a success. Those calling it a failure included eight in 10 Democrats, three in 10 Republicans and about six in 10 independents, the poll showed — ominous numbers for a president who hopes to use a nationally televised address later this week to keep GOP lawmakers from joining Democratic calls for a withdrawal.
contrasted with [FL]
Area lawmakers interpret testimony differently
Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, is a member of the Armed Services Committee. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
The bottom line: encouraging news.
The bottom line: It's time to come home
Rather than picking apart the individual polls, take a look at these trends (click for bigger pic) Prof. Franklin has put together.
Franklin astutely notes:
Bottom line: Frustrated anti-war forces are understandably angry that the 2006 election victory and subsequent Democratic Congress has failed to bring change to Iraq policy. The trend lines above show how support for the war has declined dramatically since 2003. Anti-war forces can correctly point to substantial majorities who are critical of various aspects of the war.
But change in Congress also requires that Republican members perceive that opinion against the war is so overwhelming that it is time for them to also abandon ship. That mark in public opinion has not been reached. So long as a substantial minority (say 40%+) support the current policy (or at least oppose a rapid withdrawal) then Republicans can count on a public that is too divided on the issue to pose the certainty of electoral catastrophe. This isn't to say Republicans don't wish the issue would go away, or that they relish running in 2008 with nearly 6 years of inconclusive war on their watch. But opponents of the war will not prevail in Congress unless a more massive opposition emerges--- and one united on the specific details of how to end the war.
Franklin notes that there are three groups here, those who want to stay the course, those who want out asap and everyone else, roughly in thirds (something we have noted here as well). However, Franklin points out out that rejection of Bush (blue line) is greater than accepting the war as a mistake (purple line). This is why Bush needs Petraeus to be the front man (and why we need to be clear that this is the unpopular Bush's unpopular war). What the cautious Prof. Franklin doesn't note is that 'rapid withdrawal' is not the same as "deliberate withdrawal" or "responsible withdrawal" or withdrawal with honor" or whatever the heck you want to call it. The 'swing vote', if you want to put it that way favors withdrawal and is just as fed up as the rest of us about how things are going both in Iraq and in the country as a whole.
What will happen is that the GOP and their shills will push the line that 'the President got what he want'. That's all smoke and mirrors. The conflicting independent reports preceding yesterday led to a rather lackluster set of media reports about the Petraeus hearing. GOP congresspeople have to be disappointed their cover is as thin as it is in preparation for Mr. Clinch-The-Deal's Presidential address. Bush runs the risk now of driving away any waverers in his next inarticulate defense of "stay the course" (see graph - he is wildly mistrusted on Iraq).
The public opinion trends are not going to be reversed (see Matthew Dowd):
In the public's mind, the Iraq War was a mistake, and continuing the status quo is simply continuing on with a mistake. As a result, most Americans now view the situation in Iraq as a "rearview" mirror issue -- meaning that the public believes it is time to focus on the process of ending our involvement and getting out quickly. They see American troops as targets in a place we aren't wanted, and they desire a plan which achieves responsible withdrawal in the quickest and safest way.
That's why Republican Jim Walsh (NY-25) is breaking with the President, and that's why, sooner or later, others will too.crossposted at Daily Kos