New Gallup Poll Shows Public Bitterly Divided on War

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By: E&P Staff

Despite front-page stories suggesting success in the Fallujah offensive and a date for January elections in Iraq, the public remains bitterly divided on the war, a new Gallup Poll released Tuesday reveals.

Forty-seven percent of Americans now say it was a mistake to send troops to Iraq in the first place, with 51% saying it was not. As recently as June the gap in favor of sending troops was much wider, at 58% to 41%. Asked how they feel about the war in general, 48% said they favor it, while 46% oppose it.

By 49% to 46%, Americans do not believe the United States will be ?able to establish a stable democratic government in Iraq.? If elections are indeed held in January, 52% predict that most Iraqis will not accept the outcome as legitimate.

One stark detail: Asked what they thought of the incident involving a U.S. Marine shooting a wounded Iraqi in Fallujah, 58% who have seen the video of the episode say the killing was necessary, with 15% disagreeing. Of those who had heard about the incident but not seen the video, the margin in favor was 32% to 13%.

The poll was conducted following the assault of Fallujah, but still nearly 3 in 4 Americans say they are very worried or fairly worried about the progress of the war. While only 7% say the insurgents are winning, 46% call it a stalemate.

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