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Poll: Two-thirds of Americans oppose more troops in Iraq

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Two out of three Americans oppose President Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq, a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Friday indicates.

Nearly two-thirds of those polled also say Bush has no clear plan for Iraq.

While his numbers have inched up slightly on that question since the previous poll last week, Bush's address to the nation Wednesday night seems to have made little difference.

Nearly half of those who saw the speech say their minds were not changed, while the rest are evenly split over whether they'd be more or less likely to support his policies.

This is the first poll gauging Americans' positions on the strategy following Bush's address. The telephone survey of 1,093 adult Americans was conducted Thursday. The sampling error on all the questions in the poll is plus or minus 3 percentage points. (Read the complete poll results -- PDF)

In his Wednesday evening address, Bush said he would send more than 20,000 additional troops to help the embattled government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki secure Baghdad, the scene of intense sectarian violence, and other regions roiled by the Sunni-backed insurgency.

Bush also said he would request billions more dollars to fund reconstruction efforts. (Watch how the plan is supposed to work Video)

The president argued that the increase in troop strength would be the best chance to succeed in a war the U.S. cannot afford to lose.

But Americans, the poll indicates, do not see it that way. Asked their positions on sending more troops to Iraq, 66 percent of respondents said they oppose the move, while 32 percent said they favor it. (Interactive: Where the troops are going)

Half the respondents said they "strongly oppose" sending more troops, while 16 percent "moderately oppose." Only 19 percent "strongly favor" sending additional troops, and 13 percent "moderately favor" the idea.

Watching Bush address had little, no impact on opinions

Asked whether they believe additional troops will help the United States achieve its goals, 48 percent who answered the poll said it will make no difference; 31 percent said it would help, and 18 percent said the United States would be less likely to accomplish its goals in Iraq.

Asked whether Bush has a clear plan for Iraq, 63 percent said no, while 35 percent said yes.

A week earlier, 72 percent said no and 25 percent said yes.

But that slight rise is apparently not attributable to having watched Bush's speech Wednesday night. Among those who watched the speech -- which was a little less than half the people surveyed -- 45 percent said it made no difference. Meanwhile 27 percent said they were more likely to support his policies -- and 27 percent said they were less likely.

With Democrats controlling Congress, Americans show substantially more support for the Democratic Party on the issue of Iraq. Just more than half -- 51 percent -- said they have more confidence in the Iraq policies of the Democrats in Congress, while only 34 percent said they have more confidence in Bush's Iraq policies.

The public's increasing dissatisfaction with the war may be encouraging lawmakers from both parties to strengthen their opposition to the president's war strategy. Democratic lawmakers have said they are exploring ways to limit or restrict funding for the war efforts to force the president to change his strategy. (Watch Congress hit back on Bush's Iraq plan Video)

Leading GOP senator: Morally, militarily wrong

While appearing on Capitol Hill Thursday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice faced tough questions from senators, many of whom expressed doubts from both Democrats and Republicans that the increase in troop strength would help in the sectarian violence that has torn Iraq apart. (Watch Rice, senators engage in heated exchanges over Iraq Video)

Several leading GOP senators have also come out against Bush's "New Way Forward" -- some in blistering terms. Sen. Chuck Hagel, an increasingly outspoken critic of the administration, called it "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam" and promised to oppose it.

"To ask our young men and women to sacrifice their lives to be put in the middle of a civil war is wrong," Hagel told Rice during a Foreign Relations Committee hearing. "It's, first of all, in my opinion, morally wrong. It's tactically, strategically, militarily wrong."

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A new poll suggests that the public does not support President Bush's plan to send more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq.


• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide


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