Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Most in US see no tie between Iraq, terror war

Most in US see no tie between Iraq, terror war: poll

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A majority of Americans no longer see a link between the war in Iraq and Washington's broader anti-terrorism efforts despite President George W. Bush's insistence the two are intertwined, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll released on Tuesday.

Fifty-one percent of those surveyed said the war in Iraq was separate from the U.S. government's war on terrorism. The findings were a considerable shift from polls taken in 2002 and early 2003, when a majority considered the two to be linked, The New York Times said.

As recently as June, opinion was evenly split, with 41 percent on both sides of the divide. Now only 32 percent considered Iraq to be a major part of the fight against terrorism, the newspaper said.

According to the poll, 46 percent said the Bush administration had concentrated too heavily on Iraq and not enough on terrorists elsewhere. Fifty-three percent said going to war in the first place was a mistake, up from 48 percent in July, The New York Times said.

Bush's approval ratings remained unchanged at 36 percent. His popularity has been damaged by the unpopular war in Iraq, in which the U.S. military death toll is 2,610.

As recently as Monday, Bush defended the invasion of Iraq as crucial to preventing more domestic terror attacks.

"If you believe that the job of the federal government is to secure this country, it's really important for you to understand that success in Iraq is part of securing the country," Bush said during a news conference.

The unpopularity of the Iraq war has many Republicans nervous about the party's chances in the November midterm elections in which Democrats are seeking to retake control of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.

The Times/CBS News poll of 1,206 adults was conducted Thursday through Monday and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.