In Their Own Words: Independents and War
Political independents have continued to support congressional Democrats even as they have pursued increasingly aggressive strategies to remove troops from Iraq.
By a 57 percent to 31 percent margin, independents trust Democrats in Congress to handle the issue of Iraq over President Bush, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News Poll. That follows from the 2006 midterm elections, when independents, motivated by opposition to Bush's management of the Iraq war, helped drive Republicans from power.
Now, Bush and Democrats are clashing over war funding legislation that includes a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq. Bush has pledged to veto the bill. The poll showed that independents, however, are split 49 percent to 49 percent over whether there should be a timetable.
"We're in a really tough spot. We can't get out without causing more problems. We can't stay in without more American deaths," said independent Elizabeth Slomba, 37, a college professor and librarian in York, Maine, who responded to the poll. "Congress can only do so much."
But despite her concern that Congress will overreach in its effort to bring the war to a close, she believes it is doing the right thing in putting pressure on Bush. "I believe they are responding to why they were voted into office, and this is the best thing that Congress can do," Slomba said.
Other independents who approved of the Democratic strategy wanted lawmakers to go further. Brent Benoit, 32, a construction company owner in heavily-conservative East Baton Rouge, La., said, "I feel like I'm a little disappointed in them for not taking action on Iraq as aggressively as they should have done so far. I think that America in general, even in the conservative South here, is pretty unified that Iraq's been a failure."
Walt Leipold, 52, an engineer in New Castle County, Del., predicted that Democrats ultimately would back down from their demand that a timetable be included in war funding legislation. "I suspected they're going to knuckle under to the no-timetable provision the president is demanding," he said.
Should the U.S. set a deadline for withdrawing its forces from Iraq, not?
|Should set a deadline||Should not set a deadline||No opinion|
Full question wording available here.
More information about Post polls is available at www.washingtonpost.com/polls.
* Reporting by Zachary Goldfarb
* Polling analysis by Jon Cohen and Jennifer Agiesta
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