Political Report

Iraq: Unfinished Business?
Handling foreign policy was once a substantial strength for President Obama. Now it is a clear weakness. Still, around six in
ten continue to believe that President Obama’s decision to remove US troops from Iraq was correct. People are split about
whether the Iraqis are better or worse off because of US involvement and, separately, whether the US is safer because of it.
Q: Do you . . . ?
June 2014 February 2009
Approve of the way Barack Obama
is handling foreign policy 36% 57%
Disapprove 58 17
Note: In the June 2014 poll, 8 percent of Republicans, 30 percent of independents, and 63 percent of Democrats approved.
Source: CBS News/New York Times, latest that of June 2014.
Q: Do you . . . ?
Approve of the way Barack Obama is
handling the current situation in Iraq 37%
Disapprove 52
Note: The results of Quinnipiac University’s poll, taken a few days after the CBS News/New York Times poll, were virtually identical: 37 percent
of registered voters approved and 55 percent disapproved. In the new CBS News/New York Times poll, 12 percent of Republicans, 34 percent
of independents, and 60 percent of Democrats approved.
Source: CBS News/New York Times, June 2014.
Q: Turning to Iraq, do you . . . ?
Approve of President Obama’s 2011 decision
to withdraw nearly all US troops from Iraq Disapprove
June 2014 61% 34%
October 2011 75 21
Note: Question wording in 2011 was slightly different. In the late June Quinnipiac University poll, 58 percent of registered voters said President
Obama’s decision to withdraw all US troops was the right thing to do.
Source: The Gallup Organization, latest that of June 2014.
Q: Please tell me if you agree or disagree with each of the following statements . . . .
Note: Sample is registered voters. In Fox News polls from March 2013 and September 2010, 58 percent said the US and the world were safer.
Source: Fox News, June 2014.
Volume 10, Issue 7 • July/August 2014
A M O N T H L Y P O L L C O M P I L A T I O N
1150 Seventeenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036 • 202.862.5800 • www.aei.org
Agree, the Iraqi people are better off today
because of the military action taken
in Iraq by the US-led coalition 46%
Disagree 44
Agree, the United States and the world
are safer today because of the US
military action taken in Iraq 49%
Disagree 46
(Continued on the next page)
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Q: At this time, how worried are you . . . ?
Very worried about the situation in Iraq 23%
Somewhat worried 44
Not too worried 21
Not worried at all 11
Note: Thirty-four percent of Republicans are very worried, compared to 18 percent of Democrats and 22 percent of independents. In the Pew
Research Center’s late June News Interest Index, 25 percent said they were following growing violence and political instability in Iraq very
closely, 29 percent fairly closely, 18 percent not too closely, and 27 percent not at all closely. Pew described interest as “modest.”
Source: The Gallup Organization, June 2014.
Q: Do you . . . ?
National ——————————Responses of ——————————
response Republicans Democrats Independents
Favor taking direct military
action in Iraq 39% 52% 34% 39%
Oppose 54 45 60 54
Note: In a question in a June Ipsos-Reuters internet poll, 21 percent said the US needs to get involved no matter what to keep extremists from
taking power, 34 percent said President Obama is setting appropriate conditions for US involvement, and 45 percent said the US should not
get involved in the current conflict no matter what.
Source: The Gallup Organization, June 2014.
What’s Next?
Only two in ten Americans believe the Iraqi government can defeat the terrorist insurgents without US help. Still, substan-
tial numbers of Americans oppose putting troops on the ground. The public’s responses to other options are shown on
the next page.
Q: Do you think . . . ?
The Iraqi government can defeat the terrorist
insurgents without help from the United States 21%
Cannot 71
Note: Sample is registered voters.
Source: Fox News, June 2014.
Q: If you had to choose, which is more important to you personally . . . ?
More important to keep terrorists from taking over Iraq,
even if it means more US military involvement 33%
For US troops to stay out of Iraq, even if it leads
to an unstable government 58
Note: Sample is registered voters.
Source: Fox News, June 2014.
AEI POLITICAL REPORT CONTRIBUTORS
Karlyn Bowman, Senior Fellow;
Norman Ornstein, Resident Scholar;
Michael Barone, Resident Fellow.
Editors: Jennifer Marsico, Senior Research
Associate; Heather Sims, Research Assistant.
Intern: Morgan Williams.
(Continued on the next page)
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Q: Do you think . . . ?
National ——————————Responses of ——————————
response Republicans Democrats Independents
The US has a responsibility to
do something about the violence
in Iraq in which militants have
taken control of some areas
of the country 42% 52% 43% 37%
Does not 50 42 51 55
Note: In a separate question, 53 percent of Republicans, 13 percent of Democrats, and 29 percent of independents said Obama should be
doing more to address the situation. Twenty-one percent of Republicans, 19 percent of Democrats, and 25 percent of independents said he
should be doing less.
Source: CBS News/New York Times, June 2014.
Q: For each of the following, please tell me if you approve or disapprove of the United States taking that action in Iraq
in response to the current situation . . .
Approve Disapprove
Sending 300 US special-forces advisers
to work with the Iraqi military 59% 37%
Launching US air strikes to try to stop the
terrorist insurgents 57 38
Cooperating with Iran to fight against terrorists
in Iraq 44 49
Putting US troops back on the ground 31 64
Providing more weapons and financial aid
to Iraq 30 65
Note: Sample is registered voters.
Source: Fox News, June 2014.
Q: In response to the recent violence in Iraq, do you . . . ?
Favor Oppose
Sending US military advisers to Iraq* 51% 42%
US using unmanned aircraft or drones
to carry out targeted attacks against
militants in Iraq 56 38
US using manned aircraft to carry out
targeted attacks against militants
in Iraq 43 51
Sending ground troops into Iraq 19 77
US working with Iran in a limited capacity
in order to try to resolve the situation
in Iraq** 53 39
Note: *The stem of this question read: “As you may know, in response to recent violence, the US is sending about 300 military advisers into
Iraq to train and advise the Iraqi military and help with the collection of intelligence.” **This question did not include the preface “In response
to the recent violence in Iraq.”
Source: CBS News/New York Times, June 2014.
(Continued on the next page)
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The Terrorist Threat
Q: As a result of the recent violence in Iraq, do you think . . . ?
Terrorism against the US will increase 44%
Decrease 3
Stay about the same 50
Source: CBS News/New York Times, June 2014.
Q: If Islamic militants take over Iraq, how likely do you think it is that . . . ?
Very likely that they
would launch a terrorist attack
against the US in the near future 37%
Somewhat likely 35
Not so likely 16
Not likely at all 8
Note: Sample is registered voters. Majorities of Republicans (85 percent), Democrats (60 percent), and independents (73 percent) said it was
very or somewhat likely.
Source: Quinnipiac, June 2014.
Building Democracies Abroad
Americans have long been skeptical about democracy promotion. While most people believe it is a worthy objective, they
aren’t confident that we know enough about how to make it happen and prefer tending to problems closer to home.
Q: Next, I’m going to read a list of possible foreign policy goals that the United States might have. For each one, please
say whether you think it should be . . . ?
Very important foreign policy goals
————Top two (of nine)———— ————Bottom two (of nine)————
Source: The Gallup Organization, February 2013.
Q: Do you think . . . ?
The US has a responsibility to make
sure Iraq has a stable democracy 37%
Does not 57
Source: CBS News/New York Times, June 2014.
Preventing future
acts of terrorism
Preventing the spread
of nuclear weapons/
other weapons of
mass destruction
Promoting economic
development in
other countries
Helping other
countries build
democracies
88%
83%
31% 31%
(Continued on the next page)
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Iran: Unpopular Here and Abroad
In the few polls that have asked the question, American public opinion about Iran’s involvement in assisting Iraq in the
wake of growing insurgent activity there seems unclear. This no doubt stems from deep reservations Americans have
about Iran’s intentions. In a May CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, 47 percent called Iran an “enemy.” In twenty-
nine of the forty countries Pew surveyed this spring, “a majority or plurality say they have an unfavorable opinion of the
Islamic Republic.” Favorable views of Iran in Egypt, Turkey, and Jordan are down from 2006.
Q: For each of the following countries, please say whether you consider . . . .
Iran is an ally of the US 4%
Friendly 8
Unfriendly 40
An enemy 47
Source: CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, May 2014.
Q: Would you say that the following represent a . . . ?
Iran represents a very serious
threat to the US 33%
Moderately serious threat 37
Just a slight threat 18
No threat at all 10
Source: CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, March 2014.
Q: Please tell me if you have a . . .
———————————————Responses in———————————————
Egypt Turkey Jordan
Favorable view of Iran
2014 16% 14% 11%
2006 59 53 49
Source: Pew Research Center, latest that of spring 2014.
Q: Please tell me which of the following statements comes closer to your point of view: A.) The US is doing too much
in other countries around the world, and it is time to do less around the world and focus more on our problems here
at home. B.) The US must continue to push forward to promote democracy and freedom in other countries around the
world because these efforts make our own country more secure . . . ?
National —————————Responses of —————————
response Republicans Democrats Independents
US is doing too much and should
focus on problems at home 64% 56% 65% 67%
US must continue to push forward
to promote democracy because these
efforts make our country more secure 32 39 32 29
Note: Sample is registered voters.
Source: Quinnipiac, June 2014.
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Forty Years Later: Richard Nixon’s Resignation
Forty years ago, on August 8, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned the presidency. At the time, his approval rating was 24 percent.
Fifty percent of Republicans approved of the job he was doing, but only 13 percent of Democrats agreed. Although the
question has not been asked recently, people still believe his actions were serious enough to warrant his resignation. As the
next page shows, initial reactions to President Gerald Ford’s pardon of Nixon were negative, but views softened over time.
Q: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Richard Nixon is handling his job as president?
Note: Chart includes last poll in each month from January 1969 until August 1974.
Source: The Gallup Organization, latest that of August 1974.
Approve of the job Richard
Nixon is doing as president
National response 24%
Response of
Republicans 50%
Democrats 13
Independents 22
Source: The Gallup Organization, August 1974.
Q: Do you think . . . ?
President Richard Nixon’s actions
regarding Watergate were serious
enough to warrant his resignation
1992 70%
2002 63
Source: The Gallup Organization, June 1992; ABC News, June 2002.
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May 1973:
Senate Watergate Committee
begins public hearings
24%
59%
Approve of Nixon's job as president
Disapprove
66%
5%
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Reactions to the Nixon Pardon
In 1974, 26 percent in a September Opinion Research Corporation question supported President Ford’s action to pardon
Richard Nixon. By 1986, a majority said President Ford did the right thing.
Q: As you may know, President Gerald Ford granted Richard Nixon a pardon from criminal charges arising out of Water-
gate. Do you think . . . ?
Ford did the right thing
in granting Nixon a pardon Wrong thing
35% June 1976 55%
43 August 1979 48
45 May 1982 47
54 April 1986 39
59 June 2002 32
Source: The Gallup Organization, 1976; ABC News, 1979 and 2002. The 1986 poll was a Gallup/Newsweek poll. The 1982 poll was an ABC
News/Washington Post poll.
Nixon Compared to Other Presidents
In the pantheon of modern presidents, Richard Nixon ranks near the bottom. A June 2014 Gallup poll found that Obama
is the least popular living president; 47 percent view him favorably.
Q: How do you think __________ will go down in history—as an outstanding president, above average, average, below
average, or poor?
Outstanding/ Below average/
Above average Average Poor
Kennedy 74% 19% 3%
Reagan 61 27 10
Clinton 55 29 15
Eisenhower 49 36 3
Obama 28 31 40
G.H.W. Bush 27 48 22
Carter 23 37 35
G.W. Bush 21 36 43
Johnson 20 46 22
Ford 16 56 20
Nixon 15 27 52
Note: In June 2014 when Quinnipiac asked, “Which of these twelve presidents we have had since World War II would you consider the worst
president?”, 33 percent of registered voters said Barack Obama, 28 percent said George W. Bush, and 13 percent said Richard Nixon.
Source: The Gallup Organization, November 2013.
Q: Do you . . . ?
Approve of President Ford’s
action in pardoning
Richard Nixon for the
Watergate-related
offenses he committed 26%
Disapprove 59
Source: Opinion Research Corporation, September 1974.
Q: Now I’m going to read a few statements about some
topics that are in the news these days. Please tell me
whether you agree or disagree with the statement . . . ?
In the long run, it was
probably right to pardon
former President
Richard Nixon 47%
Disagree 45
Source: CBS News/New York Times, June 1976.
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Election 2014: The Lay of the Land
National polls can’t tell us much about the contours of individual Senate, House, gubernatorial, and state legislative races.
They can give us a sense of the electorate’s mood, which is what we show here. Only 32 percent say their representative
deserves to be reelected. The Democratic Party fares better than the GOP or the Tea Party movement in public esteem, but
none of the three gets especially high marks. A paltry three in ten approve of the job the Democrats in Congress are doing;
22 percent approve of the Republicans there.
Q: In this year’s election for US Congress, do you feel that your representative . . . ?
June 2014 June 2010
Your representative deserves
to be reelected 32% 35%
It is time to give a new person a chance 57 57
Note: According to the latest edition of the AEI-Brookings-Campaign Finance Institute joint project Vital Statistics on Congress, 91.3 percent
of House members and 84 percent of senators who sought reelection were reelected in 2010. In 2012, 80.7 percent of House members who
sought reelection were reelected, as were 91.3 percent of senators.
Source: NBC News/Wall Street Journal, latest that of June 2014.
Q: Now I’m going to read you the names of several public figures and groups and I’d like you to rate your feelings
toward each one as . . .
Republican Party Democratic Party Tea Party movement
Positive feelings 29% 38% 22%
Neutral 24 21 26
Negative 45 40 41
Source: NBC News/Wall Street Journal, June 2014.
Q: Do you . . . ?
Republicans in Congress Democrats in Congress
Approve of the job
they are doing 22% 30%
Disapprove 68 62
Source: Fox News, June 2014.
2014 Election Interest
Enthusiasm matters in all elections, but especially in off-year elections when turnout is lower than in general election con-
tests. At this stage in the 2014 cycle, the GOP has the edge in terms of high election interest. Two-thirds of registered GOP
voters say they are extremely or very interested, compared to 54 percent of Democrats. The GOP is doing better among
whites than in recent cycles. In off-year elections, whites tend to vote at higher rates than non-whites.
Q: Right now, how interested are you . . . ?
Registered voters Republicans Democrats
Extremely/Very interested in
the November elections 58%* 66% 54%
Of the 58 percent who are extremely
or very interested, would vote for
Democratic candidate 38%
Republican candidate 49
Note: *In July 2010, 62 percent of registered voters were extremely or very interested.
Source: Fox News, June 2014.
(Continued on the next page)
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Q: In politics, as of today, do you consider yourself . . .?
Trends in partisanship
————Lean Republican————— ————Lean Democratic—————
Whites Non-whites Non-whites Whites
46.8% 21.2% Clinton years, 1997–2000 68.7% 42.7%
48.6 22.0 Bush years, 2001–2008 68.9 43.2
50.3 21.2 Obama years, 2009–2013 68.4 40.8
Source: The Gallup Organization, latest that of 2009–2013.
Q: Will your vote be made in order to . . . ?
National —————————Responses of—————————
response Republicans Democrats Independents
Will vote in 2014 to send a message
of support to Barack Obama 24% 2% 54% 11%
To oppose 30 64 6 31
You will not be sending a message 43 30 38 55
Source: The Gallup Organization, April 2014.
Personal Politics?
How active are we in the political process? Pew recently asked adults whether they have engaged in certain campaign-
related activities. Two percent said they had run for federal, state, or local elected office. Three in ten had contributed
money to a candidate or group supporting a candidate.
Q: Have you ever . . . ?
Have contributed money to
a candidate running for
public office or to a group
working to elect a candidate 30%
Note: Fifteen percent said they had contributed in the last two years.
Q: And, again, just thinking about the last two years. Please tell me if you have done any of the following . . . .
In the last two years
Worked or volunteered for a
political candidate or campaign 8%
Contacted any elected official 28
Attended a campaign event 15
Q: Have you, yourself, ever . . . ?
Have run for federal, state, or
local elected office 2%
Q: Thinking about the elections you have voted in over the past several years, including national and statewide elections.
Would you say you . . . ?
Always vote Republican 10%
Always vote Democratic 18
Source: Pew Research Center, February–March 2014.
1150 Seventeenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036 • 202.862.5800 • www.aei.org 10
What’s in a Name?
In June, the United States Patent and Trademark Office cancelled the Washington Redskins’ federal trademark registration,
arguing that the name is “disparaging to Native Americans.” We examine below a handful of polls on the team’s name, includ-
ing one on the views of Washington DC residents. We also examine here women’s views about the term “feminist,” African-
Americans’ views about the terms “black” or “African-American,” and Hispanics’ preference for “Hispanic” or “Latino.”
Hail to the Redskins?
Q: Some people say that the Washington Redskins should change its team name because it is offensive to Native Ameri-
can Indians. Others say the name is not intended to be offensive, and should not be changed. What about you . . . ?
Washington Redskins should change their team name Should not
National response
Jan. 1992 7% 89%
Apr. 2013 11 79
Jan. 2014 14 83
Washington DC residents’ response
June 2013 28% 66%
Note: Eighteen percent of Washington DC Redskins fans said the team should change its name, while 79 percent said it should not do so.
Source: AP/GfK/Roper, latest that of January 2014; Washington Post, June 2013.
Are You a Feminist?
Polls taken over the years show that no more than 35 percent of women have ever called themselves feminists. Polls that
ask women and men whether they are supporters of the women’s movement show strong support.
Q: Do you consider yourself to be a feminist, or not . . . ?
Source: Time/CNN/Yankelovich, October 1989, February 1992, August 1992, and May 1998; the Gallup Organization, October 1991; Gallup/
Newsweek, December 1992; CBS News, October 1997, December 1999, and May 2006; Gallup/USA Today, February 1999; NBC News/Wall
Street Journal, June 2000; ABC News/Washington Post, September 2007, October 2007, and June 2008; ABC News/Facebook, December
2007; Time/Abt SRBI, September 2008.
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Yes, consider yourself a feminist
No, do not consider yourself a feminist
58%
62%
33%
35%
Responses of women
1150 Seventeenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036 • 202.862.5800 • www.aei.org 11
Black or African-American?
Today most African-Americans do not have a preference between the terms African-American or black.
Q: Which term do you like most . . . ?
1969—Responses of blacks
Negroes 38%
Colored people 20
Blacks 19
Afro-Americans 10
Don’t care/Not sure 12
Source: Gallup/Newsweek, May 1969.
Q: Some people say the term “African-American” should be used instead of black. Which would you prefer—
“African-American” or “black” or doesn’t it matter much to you?
1989—Responses of blacks
Prefer term
Black 25%
African-American 13
Doesn’t matter much to you 60
Source: CBS News/New York Times, April 1989.
Q: Some people say the term “African-American” should be used instead of the word ‘black.’ Which term do you
prefer—“African-American” or “black,” or does it not matter to you either way?
Source: The Gallup Organization, 1991, 1992, 2001, 2003, 2007, and 2013; Gallup/CNN/USA Today, April 1994, August 1994, 1995, and 2000.
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0
7
S
e
p
-
0
7
F
e
b
-
0
8
J
u
l
-
0
8
D
e
c
-
0
8
M
a
y
-
0
9
O
c
t
-
0
9
M
a
r
-
1
0
A
u
g
-
1
0
J
a
n
-
1
1
J
u
n
-
1
1
N
o
v
-
1
1
A
p
r
-
1
2
S
e
p
-
1
2
F
e
b
-
1
3
Does not matter
Prefer the term African-American
Prefer the term black
65%
61%
18%
19%
17%
Responses of blacks
1150 Seventeenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036 • 202.862.5800 • www.aei.org 12
Hispanic or Latino?
Q: The terms Hispanic and Latino are both used here to describe people who are of Hispanic or Latin origin or descent. Do
you happen to prefer one of those terms more than the other? (If yes, ask:) Which terms do you prefer, Hispanic or Latino?
Source: Pew Research Center/Kaiser Family Foundation, 2002 and 2003. Pew Research Center, latest that of May 2013.
Q: Some people say the term “Latino” should be used instead of the word “Hispanic.” Which term do you prefer—
“Latino” or “Hispanic,” or does it not matter to you either way?
2013 ————Responses of————
Responses of Hispanics Immigrants Born in US
Prefer term
Latino 10% 13% 7%
Hispanic 19 17 21
Does not matter 70 70 72
Source: The Gallup Organization, latest that of June–July 2013.
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
A
p
r
-
0
2
J
u
l
-
0
2
O
c
t
-
0
2
J
a
n
-
0
3
A
p
r
-
0
3
J
u
l
-
0
3
O
c
t
-
0
3
J
a
n
-
0
4
A
p
r
-
0
4
J
u
l
-
0
4
O
c
t
-
0
4
J
a
n
-
0
5
A
p
r
-
0
5
J
u
l
-
0
5
O
c
t
-
0
5
J
a
n
-
0
6
A
p
r
-
0
6
J
u
l
-
0
6
O
c
t
-
0
6
J
a
n
-
0
7
A
p
r
-
0
7
J
u
l
-
0
7
O
c
t
-
0
7
J
a
n
-
0
8
A
p
r
-
0
8
J
u
l
-
0
8
O
c
t
-
0
8
J
a
n
-
0
9
A
p
r
-
0
9
J
u
l
-
0
9
O
c
t
-
0
9
J
a
n
-
1
0
A
p
r
-
1
0
J
u
l
-
1
0
O
c
t
-
1
0
J
a
n
-
1
1
A
p
r
-
1
1
J
u
l
-
1
1
O
c
t
-
1
1
J
a
n
-
1
2
A
p
r
-
1
2
J
u
l
-
1
2
O
c
t
-
1
2
J
a
n
-
1
3
A
p
r
-
1
3
No preference
Prefer the term Hispanic
Prefer the term Latino
50%
33%
15%
53%
34%
15%
Responses of Hispanics
A recent question from Gallup with different wording from the Pew question above paints a similar picture. In its
release, Gallup broke out responses from immigrants and adults born in the US, and we show them below. Most
people in both groups and in both polls say they don’t have a preference for identification. Of the remainder, more
prefer Hispanic than Latino. The Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends Project notes that “The use of the terms
“Hispanic” and “Latino” to describe Americans of Spanish origin or descent is unique to the US and their meaning
continue (sic) to change and evolve. Outside of the US, these terms are not widely used.”

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