Public Opinion in Iraq – Improving?

I’m not a fan of CBS/New York Times polls. Having written a column at Polipundit a few days before the 2004 election debunking in minute detail its absurdly biased poll, I am under no illusion that its polling, and especially the reporting of the same, slants left.

That said, it is worth analyzing the trend on its Iraq polling. First, let me say that I do not believe the question of whether we should or should not go into Iraq will have any relevance in the 2008 election. There are two reasons for this belief: (1). Americans tend to vote on the way things are, and the way they want them to be in the future, and (2). there is a strong correlation between perceptions of the situation on the ground and the percentage believing the liberation of Iraq was the correct decision.

Second, this belief necessarily entails that, in my opinion, the most important question in any poll on Iraq is how Americans perceive the current situation. On that question, there is a glimmer, if not the first hopeful rays for the President and those who support the valiant American forces in Iraq, their brave Iraqi allies, and the “survival and success of freedom around the globe.”

Here are the most recent numbers on the following question: “As you may know, the U.S. has sent more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq. From what you have heard or read, would you say this troop increase is making the situation in Iraq better, making it worse, or is it having no impact on the situation in Iraq so far?”

The most recent poll indicates that 35% thinking the surge is making the situation better, 12% say worse. In August, 29% thought the surge was making the situation better, while 15% thought it was making it worse. In July, roughly 20% thought it was making the situation better, while 20% thought it was making it worse.

We should remember that the media continued its habit of daily reports on how conditions were deteriorating during this time period, making the rise in support even more remarkable.

Indeed, since April, there has even been a 10% swing in the President’s favor on how he is handling the situation in Iraq. I hope the speech on Thursday, and above all, continued success on the ground in Iraq, will counteract the media’s slanted and unduly negative reporting, and build public support for this important mission.

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