MPR Poll: Don't send more troops, bring them homeby Mark Zdechlik, Minnesota Public Radio
A new Minnesota Public Radio News poll shows most Minnesotans want to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq by this fall. The poll also found most oppose the president's troop surge plan and that less than one-third of Minnesota voters think the president is doing a "good" or "excellent" job.
St. Paul, Minn. — Outside a shopping complex in suburban Maple Grove Richard Chalmer, who lives in nearby Champlin, responded without hesitation when asked whether it's time to set a deadline to begin bringing home the troops.
"Yes. We're about four years too late for it unfortunately," Chalmer said.
Chalmer was not one of the 625 registered voters Mason-Dixon Polling and Research surveyed last week for Minnesota Public Radio's poll, but his comments reflect the opinions of a majority of Minnesotans when comes to Iraq.
According to the poll, which has a margin of error of 4 percentage points, 56 percent of Minnesotans are opposed to President Bush's decision to send more troops to Iraq. Fifty-three percent support the call to begin withdrawing the troops by October 1.
The poll finds 14 percent now say the administration was right to fight the war in Iraq and is generally doing the right things there. Four years ago that number was 54 percent.
Two weeks ago President Bush vetoed an Iraq funding bill passed by the Democratic-controlled Congress because it set a deadline for troop withdrawal. Bush called the bill a "prescription for chaos and confusion."
While the poll shows most Minnesotans agree its time for a deadline, 50 percent also concede setting a specific date would hand the insurgents an advantage.
"That's an issue, but I'm kind of convinced it's never going to get better anyway and sooner or later we're going to have to pull out like we did in Vietnam," Richard Chalmer said.
Poll respondent Thomas Murphy of Minnetonka disagreed. He said a public deadline would be foolish.
"It gives them too much information as to what our plans are," Murphy said. "We shouldn't be giving them any information."
Thirty-nine percent of poll respondents said they are against setting a withdrawal deadline. While Murphy agrees with President Bush on that issue, he doesn't think Bush is doing is a good job.
"Absolutely not. What has he done right? Everything he has touched he has done wrong, and he's surrounded himself with a bunch of crooks and people who just don't represent the American people," Murphy said.
Only 29 percent of Minnesotans in the poll rated the president's job performance as "good" or "excellent."
Like 48 percent of the poll respondents, Ann Bray of Brooklyn Park, rated President Bush's performance as "poor."
"I think he has not done a good job," Bray said. "I think he's taken advice from people who had a very narrow agenda that was not the best thing for America."
Mary Lou Flannigan, who lives in the central Minnesota town of Cold Spring, disagreed. Flannigan had nothing but positive things to say about President Bush.
"I don't think that anyone else could have done any better under all the terrible, horrendous circumstances he faced," Flannigan said.
While Bush ranks low in the poll, Minnesotans hold Congress in fairly low esteem as well. Fifty-five percent of the respondents said they disapprove of the way the Democratic-controlled Congress is handling its job. That's a considerable improvement from the last MPR poll. In October of last year 70 percent respondents said they disapproved of the way the Republican-led Congress was doing its job.
- Morning Edition, 05/14/2007, 7:41 a.m.