President Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year is popular with the public. In fact, Obama receives his best approval ratings on foreign policy issues. Of course, his problem is that foreign policy is not considered an important issue in this election.
· Three-quarters (75%) of Americans support Obama’s withdrawal announcement. Only a fair majority of Republicans oppose of the withdrawal (50%).
· Obama’s overall approval rating is in the mid-40 percent range. The public’s approval of his handling of the economy is only 37 percent in a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll (August 2011), but his handling of foreign policy garnered a 50 percent rating (NBC/WSJ) and a 62 percent approval of his handling a threat of terrorism (Washington Post/ABC News, Sept. 2011).
· Foreign policy is considered an important problem facing the country by less than 1 percent of the public (CBS News/New York Times, Sept. 2011).
Although withdrawal is clearly a popular short-term policy, “who lost Iraq” may become a longer term foreign policy debate.
See Gallup article: Three in Four Americans Back Obama on Iraq Withdrawal