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Military Times Poll: Military Down on the War

LongIsland.com

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The cover story for the January 8, 2007 editions of all four Military Times' weeklies (Air Force, Army, Marine, and Navy Times -

http://www.navytimes.com/story.php?f=1-NAVYPAPER-navypaper01082007.php

) reads the same: Military Times Poll -- About-Face On The War -- After 3 years of support, troops sour on Iraq.


They Did This Poll How

Near the last month of 2006, they sent questionnaires to 6,000 people drawn at random from their subscribers list, ensuring the responses used were all active-duty personnel; about two-thirds of the questionnaires sent were to active-duty service members. The results, all of which remained anonymous, were tabulated by an independent firm. When the dust settled, around 1,000 of the 4,000 service members responded. For those who would ask, the poll results resulted in a 95% confidence level; plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Military Times believes their poll is "...perhaps the most representative independent sample possible because of the inherent challenges in polling service members, according to polling experts and military sociologists."

For those not familiar with the Military Times annual polls, they are accepted by many to accurately reflect the thinking of the professional career military individual, from all branches.

In General The Poll Found What

Their report on their findings begins, "The American military - once a staunch supporter of President Bush and the Iraq war - has grown increasingly pessimistic about chances for victory. For the first time, more troops disapprove of the president's handling of the war than approve of it. Barely one-third of service members approve of the way the president is handling the war, according to the 2006 Military Times Poll."

Ouch!

Yet, "The results should not be read as representative of the military as a whole; the survey's respondents are on average older, more experienced, more likely to be officers and more career-oriented than the overall military population."

As to the replacement of American troops with Iraqis, "The military is not optimistic that will happen soon. Only about one in five service members said that large numbers of American troops can be replaced within the next two years. More than one-third think it will take more than five years. And more than half think the U.S. will have to stay in Iraq more than five years to achieve its goals."

And, an interesting finding, "One contentious area of military life in the past year has been the role religion should play. Some troops have complained that they feel pressure to attend religious services. Others have complained that chaplains and superior officers have tried to convert them. Half of the poll respondents said that at least once a month, they attend official military gatherings, other than meals and chapel services, that began with a prayer. But 80 percent said they feel free to practice and express their religion within the military."

As To The Details

The poll questions fall into four categories: Morale (24); Iraq, Afghanistan and President Bush (14); Military, Race and Religion (11), and; Politics, Civilians and Policy (18). The numbers in parentheses are the number of each category's questions in the 2006 poll.

What follows are just four of questions and the results obtained from both the 2006 and 2003/2004 polls. The 2006 Civilian results were taken from a recent US Today/Gallop Poll as provided by the Military Times. The "other" percentages either declined to answer or stated they had no opinion.

Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the situation with Iraq?
- 2003 -- Approve 56% -- Disapprove 22% -- Other 22%
- 2006 -- Approve 35% -- Disapprove 42% -- Other 23%
- 2006 Civilian -- Approve 30% -- Disapprove 66% -- Other 4%

Should The United States Have Gone To War In Iraq?
- 2003 -- Yes 65% -- No 20% -- Other 15%
- 2006 -- Yes 41% -- No 37% -- Other 22%
- 2006 Civilian -- Yes 45% -- No 53% -- Other 2%

Regardless of whether you think the U.S. should have gone to war, do you think the U.S. will succeed?
- 2004 -- Yes 83% -- No 14% -- Other 3%
- 2006 -- Yes 50% -- No 41% -- Other 9%

In politics today, do you consider yourself a:
- 2003 -- Republican 57% -- Democrat 13% -- Independent 18% -- Other 12%
- 2006 -- Republican 46% -- Democrat 16% -- Independent 22% -- Other 16%
- 2006 Civilian -- Republican 30% -- Democrat 35% -- Independent 27% -- Other 8%

--- Regards, Walt Schmidt