The Iraq war — launched six years ago this week — has divided the public for most of its duration, but as a new administration announces a change in course an overwhelming majority of Americans agree with plans to remove most combat troops by the end of August. By a 76%-to-18% margin, Americans support President Obama’s troop-removal plan in Iraq. Democrats nearly unanimously approve of the plan (94%), but so do a large number of independents (77%) and even half of Republicans (50%). In a January 2009 survey, Americans were more positive about the war (59% said things were going well compared with 36% saying the war was not going well) but were still split on whether using military force against Iraq was the right (43%) or wrong (49%) decision. By comparison, there is more division over the administrations’ plans for Afghanistan. A narrower majority (53%) support Obama’s plan to send 17,000 more troops to that country. On this question, Republicans voice the most support (63%) and Democrats the least (49%). Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.