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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

A Bit More Light On Public Opinion and Iraq

There’s a useful new poll out, done by Celinda Lake’s firm for One Voice PAC, on public attitudes towards funding for the Iraq War.
In addition to the usual options of voting unconditionally for or against Bush’s supplemental appropriations request, this poll’s “third option” is worded a bit differently than most. Instead of messing around with timetables or dollar figures that probably don’t mean a lot to people, the poll tests support for the appropriation with the stipulation that funds can only be used to protect U.S. troops and contractors and withdraw them from Iraq. Overall, that option gets 47 percent support, compared with 22 percent for an unconditional denial of appropriations, and 23 percent for unconditional approval.
These findings, of course, still suffer from the fundamental problem that the only way Congress can “get to” the third option is to vote against any appropriations, and slug it out with Bush over a protracted period of time. If House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey has indeed delayed the moment of truth on Iraq funding until January, then maybe pollsters can figure out a way to test that scenario. In any event, this poll indicates pretty decisive overall opposition to anything like a indefinite continuation of the war, with independent voters aligned much more closely with Democrats than with Republicans.
Lake released not only a poll, and a memo, but 200 pages of crosstabs. You can slog through them, or look at Paul Rosenberg’s summary over at OpenLeft. (On the regional splits, BTW, Rosenberg misreads a verticle for a horizontal crosstab, and concludes that support for unconditional funding is more than three times as high in the South as in the Northeast. Actually, the regional disparities are a lot smaller, with unconditional funding supported by 15% in the Northeast, 24% in the Midwest, 25% in the South, and 20% in the West.)

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