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The British Are Going

With Gordon Brown pledging today to end Britain's military role in Iraq by May 31, the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll finds 70 percent of Americans want President-elect Barack Obama to make good on his campaign promise to withdraw most U.S. troops from Iraq within the next 16 months. And most who support the drawdown want him to act on it right away, not wait until later in his presidency.

This high level of support for Obama's plan (fully 20 points higher than support for the same idea in a July Post-ABC poll) comes amid waning official resistance to troop drawdowns. The Iraqi government and Bush administration have agreed to a plan that would withdraw U.S. combat forces by the end of 2011, though the deadline for removal from Iraqi cities appears to be in question.

A narrow majority of 52 percent of Republicans, who remain solidly behind the war, prefer that Obama not withdraw troops - the feeling is strongest among McCain's supporters, 57 percent of whom oppose the drawdown - but among conservatives, 55 percent think he should follow through on the promise.

Views among independents track more closely to those of Democrats: Seven in 10 think Obama should withdraw troops within the next 16 months, including four in 10 who favor quick action.

Most of those who think Obama should withdraw troops believe he will do so, including 75 percent of those who hope the drawdown occurs right away and 66 percent of those who believe it should happen later in his term. Even among those who say Obama should not withdraw troops, 47 percent believe he will.

Republicans are divided about whether Obama will be able to end the U.S. involvement in Iraq, 47 percent think he will, 49 percent that he will not, but among conservatives, 56 percent think he will. A slim majority of McCain voters (52 percent) think he will not.

Q. Apart from dealing with the economy, do you think Obama should or should not withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq within the next 16 months? (IF SHOULD) Should he start that right after taking office, or wait until later in his presidency?

                 -------- Should --------  Should
                 NET   Right after   Wait    not
All              70        43         27     26

Democrat         87        56         31     12
Independent      70        42         28     27
Republican       43        20         22     52

Obama voter      89        58         31      9
McCain voter     37        16         20     57

Iraq war:
Worth fighting   38        20         18     57
Not worth it     87        56         31     10

Iraq war:
Must win         50        25         25     47
Not essential    85        54         32     12

Q. As president, do you think Obama will or will not be able to end the U.S. involvement in Iraq?

                Will   Will not
All              64       32

Democrat         79       18
Independent      63       33
Republican       47       49

Obama voter      80       16
McCain voter     44       52

Iraq war:
Worth fighting   48       49
Not worth it     73       23

Iraq war:
Must win         53       44
Not essential    75       22

Complete data and more on the methodology of the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll can be found here.

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  December 17, 2008; 1:58 PM ET
Categories:  Post Polls  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Poll Player: The Latest from the Post-ABC Poll
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