According to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, Iraq is the most important election issue to voters, 29% of whom approve of Bush’s handling of the war, while 81% believe the Democrats would reduce or end the occupation of Iraq, and 52% of registered voters intend to vote for a Democrat.


New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 — A substantial majority of Americans expect Democrats to reduce or end American military involvement in Iraq if they win control of Congress next Tuesday and say Republicans will maintain or increase troop levels to try to win the war if they hold on to power on Capitol Hill, according to the final New York Times/CBS News poll before the midterm election.

The poll showed that 29 percent of Americans approve of the way President Bush is managing the war, matching the lowest mark of his presidency. Nearly 70 percent said Mr. Bush did not have a plan to end the war, and 80 percent said Mr. Bush’s latest effort to rally public support for the conflict amounted to a change in language but not policy.

The poll underlined the extent to which the war has framed the midterm elections. Americans cited Iraq as the most important issue affecting their vote, and majorities of Republicans and Democrats said they wanted a change in approach. Twenty percent said they thought the United States was winning in Iraq, down from a high this year of 36 percent in January.

Even beyond the war, the Times/CBS News poll, like most other polls this fall, contained worrisome indicators for Republicans as they go into the final days of a campaign in which many are bracing for a loss of seats in both the House and the Senate.

In a year when there are many close races, Democrats were more enthusiastic than Republicans about voting and more likely to say they would support their party’s candidates, although Republicans were slightly more likely to say they would actually vote.

Fifty percent of independent voters, a closely watched segment of the electorate in such polarized times, said they intended to vote for the Democratic candidate, versus 23 who said they would vote for a Republican.

Among registered voters, 33 percent said they planned to support Republicans, and 52 percent said they would vote for Democrats.

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