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Poll: Americans More Optimistic On Surge

According to a new CBS News poll, Americans have become somewhat more optimistic about the impact of the troop surge in Iraq. The poll, released Monday, shows that 29 percent of respondents now believe that the surge is having a positive impact, an increase of 10 percentage points from last month.

Fifteen percent of Americans say the surge is making the situation worse, and 46 percent say it is having no impact either way, according to the poll.

A majority of Americans remain pessimistic about the direction of the war in general. Just 29 percent say the U.S. efforts to bring stability and order to Iraq are going well, while more than two-thirds say those efforts are going badly.

About one-third of Americans say that the U.S. should reduce troop levels in Iraq, and another 30 percent say the U.S. should remove all troops from the country. Just under one-third say America should increase troop levels or keep them at the same level they are today.

Nearly half the public, 46 percent, says the U.S. presence in Iraq is creating terrorists who want to attack America. Just 26 percent of Americans say they approve of how President George W. Bush is handling the situation in Iraq, a figure nearly unchanged since last month.

There has also been little change in the president's overall approval rating; 29 percent of Americans say they approve of the president's performance, while 65 percent disapprove. Meanwhile, 34 percent of Americans approve of the president's handling of the economy.

Americans have become slightly more positive in their assessment of the president's handling of the campaign against terrorism. For the last two months, President Bush has been at an all-time low of 39 percent approval on the issue. This month, that figure has risen to 44 percent, with 48 percent disapproving.

While the president's approval ratings are low, Congressional approval ratings are even lower. Just 25 percent of Americans say they approve of the way the legislative body is performing. Shortly before the 2006 midterm election that resulted in the Democrats gaining control of Congress, a slightly higher percentage of Americans – 29 percent – said they approved of Congressional performance.

In the wake of the Minneapolis bridge collapse, meanwhile, 64 percent of Americans say they want increased spending on rebuilding and repairing roads and bridges, and 56 percent say they would support increasing taxes to do so.

This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,214 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone Aug. 8-12, 2007. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points.
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