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With Election Driven by Iraq, Voters Want New Approach
By ADAM NAGOURNEY and MEGAN THEE
Published: November 2, 2006
WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 — A substantial majority of Americans expect Democrats to reduce or end American military involvement in Iraq if they win control of Congress next Tuesday and say Republicans will maintain or increase troop levels to try to win the war if they hold on to power on Capitol Hill, according to the final New York Times/CBS News poll before the midterm election.
The poll showed that 29 percent of Americans approve of the way President Bush is managing the war, matching the lowest mark of his presidency. Nearly 70 percent said Mr. Bush did not have a plan to end the war, and 80 percent said Mr. Bush's latest effort to rally public support for the conflict amounted to a change in language
but not policy.
The poll underlined the extent to which the war has framed the midterm elections. Americans cited Iraq as the most important issue affecting their vote, and majorities of Republicans and Democrats said they wanted a change in approach. Twenty percent said they thought the United States was winning in Iraq, down from a high this year of 36 percent in January.
Even beyond the war, the Times/CBS News poll, like most other polls this fall, contained worrisome indicators for Republicans as they go into the final days of a campaign in which many are bracing for a loss of seats in both the House and the Senate.
This is dangerous territory for Bush. Not only because he's been speaking all week on Iraq, but because only Richard Nixon approached these levels of unpopularity. Not only is Bush now regarded as having no plan, he loses voters every time he defends his Iraq policy. This is a disaster for the GOP, and we may find races not even on the scope today going to the Dems, even at this late date.
Because there is a widespread rejection of the war and Bush's leadership of it.
Let me put it another way, the only people who cared about John Kerry were Republican staffers and headline writers. Any, and I mean any, Republican who has defended Bush could face a close race if they have a financially able opponent.
Now, the penchant for dragging Bush before friendly audiences is going to cost them heavily. Bush hears the cheers and he doesn't get that every word from his mouth is like a death sentence for Republican candidates. Bringing up Kerry turned the discussion away from taxes to Iraq, it may have been a fatal error. While everyone was wringing their hands, they didn't notice that it was Kerry for a minute and then Iraq for seven more. It killed any other subject being raised to the GOP's benefit.
posted by Steve @ 2:28:00 AM