Washington, March 29 (Reuters): Popular belief that the US is coasting to victory in Iraq has fallen sharply, a new US opinion poll showed yesterday, as Washington struggled in the image battle at home and abroad.
The Gallup survey for CNN and USA Today said public support for the war remained steady at around 70 percent, in line with the findings of other opinion polls also released yesterday.
However, the number of Americans who thought the conflict was going “very well” shot down after news reports from the front lines of US military setbacks and cautions from President George W. Bush against any talk of a quick victory.
Gallup said just 34 per cent of Americans surveyed on Monday and Tuesday thought the war was going very well.
That was down from 44 per cent on Sunday, the day Iraqi television broadcast graphic images of killed and captured American soldiers, and from 62 per cent on Saturday.
A CBS News poll found 55 per cent of respondents thought the US had underestimated the Iraqi army while an ABC News/Washington Post survey said 57 per cent of Americans now expected fighting to last months rather than weeks.
David W. Moore, a senior editor at the Gallup Organisation, said public expectations of the duration of the war and the US casualties it could cause would probably shift further, although Bush’s approval rating was likely to hold up.
“Given how closely people are following events, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were to be even more of a shift in expectations,” Moore said.
“I do think the TV coverage has had an impact.”