Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Gallup Compares Poll Data - Iraq vs.Vietnam
Although public support for both the Vietnam and the Iraq wars was strong as each conflict began, at least as measured by Gallup's "mistake" question, opposition to the latter has escalated much more quickly. Within a year and three months of the Iraq war's inception, a majority of Americans said it was a mistake. It wasn't until over three years after the inception of the Vietnam War that a majority called it a mistake.
At the same, Americans much more quickly perceived that the Vietnam War was a major problem facing the United States, with over two-thirds naming it as the nation's most important problem within the war's second year. By contrast, even today, some two years and five months after the Iraq war began, only a little more than a fourth of Americans say it is the nation's top problem.
In short, Americans have been quicker to oppose the Iraq war, but less likely to consider it the top problem facing the nation.
Bizarre, to say the least.
Something I found interesting in the Vietnam data is that the Tet Offensive didn't really have an impact in the support of Americans for the war (as reflected in the question "Was it a mistaken to send troops to Vietnam?"). It was seven months after Tet before a majority of Americans answered "yes" to that question.