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Ciruli Associates Poll

War in Iraq Seen as Mistake,
But Little Pressure for Withdrawal

Survey Analysis
April 5, 2005
Analysis by Floyd Ciruli

A plurality of Colorado Front Range voters no longer believe it was worth going to war in Iraq (46% to 44% believe it was “not worth going to war”).  Colorado voter opinion has been closely divided on the worth of the war, at least since last fall.  However, more than two-thirds of Front Range voters (68%) support the continued presence of troops and oppose immediate withdrawal (26%).  This position is consistent with previous statewide polls.

Question: All in all, do you think it was worth going to war in Iraq or not worth going to war?

Question: Should we keep troops in Iraq to assist the new Iraqi government with security or should we begin an immediate withdrawal of troops?

Ciruli Associates, N505, 2005

The telephone survey was conducted March 14-17, 2005 by Ciruli Associates with 505 Colorado Front Range registered active voters (±4.4 percentage points).  Front Range counties are:  Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, Pueblo and Weld (the 12 counties have a total of 2,554,000 voters or 80% of all voters statewide).  This analysis is part of a series of reports on Colorado and national issues published by Ciruli Associates.  Additional analysis in this series can be found on www.ciruli.com.

Partisanship is Main Factor in Views
Partisanship is the main factor associated with strong views on the war.  For example, 75 percent of Republicans – the largest group of partisans (42%) among Front Range voters – believe the Iraq war was worth it, but 80 percent of Democrats disagree.  Also, while Democrats are closely divided between keeping troops in Iraq (46%) and immediate withdrawal (47%), Republicans are overwhelmingly in favor of keeping troops in place (86%).

Party Identification and Position on War in Iraq



Was Iraq Worth It?

Stay or Withdraw?


Total in

Worth It

Worth It









Party ID
























Ciruli Associates, N505, 2005

Americans are Divided on War’s Worth,
But Don’t Favor Withdrawal
Comparing Front Range voters with statewide voters shows that Colorado opinion concerning the war hasn’t changed significantly since the 2004 presidential election.  At that time, 47 percent of voters said going to war was worth it and 43 percent said it wasn’t worth it.  Front Range voters are slightly more Democratic than voters statewide.  Also, during the presidential election, 64 percent of statewide voters said we should keep troops in Iraq to assist security (68% in latest Front Range survey) and only 26 percent (same as this latest Front Range survey) said troops should be withdrawn.

Colorado voter views are similar to their American counterparts.  The Gallup Poll has asked a series of questions concerning the Iraq war since its beginning in March 2003.  In the latest poll of March 28, 2005, 51 percent of Americans believe Iraq was not a mistake and 46 percent believe it was a mistake.  Opinion on that question since the fall of 2003 (when the cost of the war was first identified as $87 billion and 500 troops had been killed) has gone back and forth on whether the war was or wasn’t a mistake.

Gallup/CNN/USA Today

Question: In view of the developments since we first sent our troops to Iraq, do you think the U.S. made a mistake in sending troops or not?

Additional findings of Gallup surveys conducted in 2005 are:

  • Terrorism and Iraq are still top priorities for President Bush and Congress to address.  Fifty-four percent of Americans rate terrorism and 53% rate Iraq as extremely important to address.  Americans then cite domestic issues, such as health care (49%), education (45%) and Social Security (41%), as top priorities.  (Gallup, N1010, Feb. 4-6, 2005)
  • The president receives good grades for handling terrorism (58% approve the “way George W. Bush is handling…terrorism”), but only 42% believe he is handling the war in Iraq well.  (Gallup, N1008, Jun. 7-9, 2005)
  • When voters are given a range of choices on troop withdrawal, nearly half of voters favor withdrawal of all or some troops.  Although only 25% of Americans support withdrawal of all troops, another 21% support withdrawal of some troops

    Send more troops


    Keep as now


    Withdraw some


    Withdraw all


    Gallup, N1007, Jan. 14-16, 2005

  • Most Americans believe troops will be in Iraq for years.  Only 15% believe troops will leave in the next few months.  Forty-three percent believe troops could leave Iraq in the next few years; 38% believe troops won’t leave for the foreseeable future.  (Gallup, N1007, Jun. 14-16, 2005)

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Ciruli Associates is a non-partisan research, communication and public policy firm providing consulting for Colorado and national organizations since 1976.

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