McCain losing battle on Iraq withdrawal

Analysis by Chris Graham
freepress2@ntelos.net

For all the posturing between Barack Obama and John McCain over what to do about Iraq, has either of them asked the American people what they want to see done?

Hint – McCain might want to begin this conversation sooner rather than later.

A Rasmussen Reports survey released on Tuesday had 63 percent of those polled saying they want U.S. troops out of Iraq within a year. Just 33 percent answered that they want to see the troops remaining in Iraq until “the mission is complete.”

Of note is that 24 percent of those surveyed said they want troops returned home from Iraq immediately.

The trouble for McCain on the horizon is that voters seem to split down the line between the two major-party candidates based on their views on the troop-withdrawal issue. McCain gets the support of 77 percent of those who place importance on finishing the job in Iraq, as the question is asked by the pollsters, while Obama gets 79 percent of the support of those who want to see troops returned home in 12 months.

Unless the nearly two-to-one margin in favor of a quick withdrawal changes soon, McCain could be left defending a stay-the-course policy that only a third of Americans support or being faced with the prospect of changing his course on the Iraq issue at a dangerously late time in the political game.