washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Did the London Bombings Increase Support for the Iraq War?

The lead to my post yesterday was: “As support for the Iraq war continues to ebb–and, no, I don’t think reaction to the London bombing will much of an impact on that support….”.
I swear I wrote those words before I saw the results of the latest Gallup poll. Here they are, showing no increase–in fact, a general decrease–in support for the Iraq war and Bush’s foreign policy after the London bombings.
1. In the Gallup poll prior to the July 7 bombings, 46 percent said it was worth going to war in Iraq and 52 percent said it was not. In the new poll, conducted July 7-10, 44 percent say it was worth going to war, compared to 53 percent who say it wasn’t.
2. In the pre-bombings Gallup poll, 44 percent said the war in Iraq has made the US safer from terrorism, while 39 percent said it has made us less safe. In the new poll, those figures have changed dramatically: 54 percent now say the war in Iraq has made us less safe, compared to just 40 percent who say it has made us safer. Most of this change appears to be attributable to people switching from the view that the war in Iraq has had no effect on the safety of the US to the view that the war has made us less safe.
In light of what just happened, one can see why these fence-sitters switched.
3. In the new poll, 52 percent say the war with Iraq has made the world less safe from terrorism, compared to 40 percent who say it’s made the world safer (question not asked in pre-bombings Gallup poll, so no recent comparison available).
4. As for who’s winning the war against terrorism, the view that the US and its allies are winning declined to 34 percent in the new poll, down 2 points from before the bombings, while the view that neither side is winning is up 3 points to 44 percent and the view the terrorists are winning is up a point to 21 percent.
5. Finally, those expressing a great deal of confidence in the Bush administration to protect US citizens from future acts of terrorism is unchanged at 23 percent from before the bombings. That 23 percent figure, however, is down from 38 percent in early February.
In short, it looks like the London bombings have simply deepened the political trouble the Bush administration faces from its Iraq policy and its increasingly vexed relationship to the overall war on terror.
How can Democrats take maximum advantage of that political trouble? I refer you to the excellent post below by Andrew Levison, who, I believe, has some very plausible suggestions.