Poll: 41% would tell Bush to get troops out of Iraq now

Chicago Sun Times

September 1, 2005

Four out of 10 Americans, given a few minutes to bend President Bush's ear on Iraq, would tell him to bring the soldiers home now.

Or, as more than one respondent told Gallup pollsters, "get the [swear word] out."

Gallup gave 1,007 Americans a hypothetical 15 minutes with Bush and asked people what they would tell the president about Iraq.

Some 41 percent said they would urge Bush to pull the troops out and end it immediately.

Nearly three in 10 said the United States should finish what it started: 4 percent want to send more troops; 7 percent said Bush is doing a good job and should stay the course, and 18 percent said the United States should be "more aggressive."

'Quit dillydallying'

A variety of other comments for Bush included "come up with an exit strategy" (6 percent); apologize (3 percent), and explain himself better (3 percent).

A few of the remarks by detractors released by Gallup on Wednesday likened Iraq to Vietnam. Others suggested that if the president had sons instead of daughters, the United States would not be involved. "Let the Iraqi people run their own country; get the army out of there," said one.

In urging Bush to stay in Iraq, one said pulling out now would be "like shoving dirt under the rug." Said another, "I do not agree with the reason we went over there but we have to finish the job." Some were frustrated: "Quit dillydallying and go get them," said a respondent.

Women and Democrats were more likely to urge immediate withdrawal.

About a quarter in the Gallup poll, conducted Aug. 22-25, were stumped, saying they had nothing to say to Bush or had no opinion.

Not the case when the Sun-Times asked some Chicagoans about their hypothetical 15 minutes with the president.

"I would tell him to continue what you're doing," said South Sider Ruben Gonzalez, 25, who spent two tours in Iraq as a marine.

"Saddam murdered kids, threw people into jails," said Gonzalez, now a student who works part time in a bank. "We're doing the right thing."

Jesus Garcia, 24, a hotel purchasing agent, said he would ask Bush, "Where did you ever get the weapons of mass destruction idea? Where was the proof?" The Ashburn resident would urge the president to ask the United Nations to assist.

Conflicting surveys

Melissa Pongpitoon, 26, who works in advertising, said she is not qualified to tell the president what to do -- "he has more information than I do." But the Lake View resident would advise Bush to better explain his priorities.

"What is the reason we're there?" asked Daniel Young, 19, an art student who lives on the South Side. "The cost of this war is too high.''

Other recent polls on the war include an ABC News survey in which 54 percent said Bush should keep the troops in Iraq and an Associated Press survey in which 60 percent said to keep soldiers in place.