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39% Agree Iraq War Was ‘Worst Decision’ in U.S. History

With the Iraqi parliament demanding that the last 5,000 U.S. troops leave its country, many voters here share President Trump’s view that the invasion of Iraq was the biggest American blunder ever. Fewer than ever consider the effort a success story.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 39% of Likely U.S. Voters agree with Trump’s statement earlier this week: “… Iraq was the worst decision. Going into the Middle East was the worst decision ever made in the history of our country.” Nearly as many (37%) disagree, but 24% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Forty-eight percent (48%) of Democrats share the Republican’s assessment of the decision to invade Iraq made by GOP President George W. Bush and bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress. Thirty-seven percent (37%) of Republicans and 30% of voters not affiliated with either major party agree.

Just 23% of all voters regard America’s mission in Iraq as a success, a finding that has run as high as 43% but marks a new low in surveying since late 2006. Forty-four percent (44%) disagree and see the mission as a failure. But one-in-three (32%) aren’t sure how to assess it.

Despite the loss to America of over 4,000 lives, the wounding of nearly 32,000 and a cost to U.S. taxpayers in excess of $1 trillion, just 12% now view Iraq as an ally of the United States. Twenty-four percent (24%) see the Middle Eastern nation as an enemy, while 54% regard it as somewhere in between.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted January 7-8, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of voters agreed with Trump when he said in early October, “It is time for us to get out of these ridiculous endless wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home. We will fight where it is to our benefit, and only fight to win.”

Republicans (36%) are more likely than Democrats (15%) and unaffiliated voters (19%) to believe that the U.S. mission in Iraq has been a success. But voters in all three groups are in general agreement that Iraq is more an enemy than an ally.

While voters of all ages tend to view America’s mission in Iraq as a failure, those under 40 are the most likely to agree with Trump that it was the worst decision in U.S. history. Blacks feel that way more than whites and other minority voters.

Interestingly, among voters who Strongly Approve of Trump’s job performance, 55% disagree with his assessment of the Iraq war. Fifty-one percent (51%) of those who Strongly Disapprove of the job the president is doing agree with him.

Voters who agree with Trump are twice as likely as those who disagree to see the mission in Iraq as a failure.

The Iraqi parliament’s non-binding vote to kick out U.S. troops was prompted by Trump’s decision to have a top Iranian general killed because of his attacks on Americans. Voters are predictably divided along party lines over that decision, but more than ever fear war with Iran.

A plurality (45%) thinks Trump governs more like a third-party president than a traditional Republican

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted January 7-8, 2020 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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