A new CBS News poll, released Monday night, determined that Americans are almost exactly evenly split on whether Congress should “pass a non-binding resolution against sending additional troops to Iraq” with 44 percent in favor and 45 percent opposed. But in highlighting how the Senate on Tuesday “will begin a three-day debate on a non-binding, symbolic resolution stating its disapproval of President Bush's Iraq troop build-up,” CBS Evening News
anchor Katie Couric ignored that finding of an evenly-divided nation. Instead, she focused on how “a total of 53 percent say Congress ought to block funding for additional troops or for the war entirely.”
In offering up that number, which combined two answers, she obscured the poll question’s real news: A piddling 8 percent wish to “block all funding” for the war in Iraq. As an on-screen graphic showed, to get to 53 percent Couric and CBS producers combined the 8 percent with the 45 percent who want to “block funding for more troops” -- a percent only slightly higher than, and within the three-point margin of error, the 42 percent who want to “allow all funding.” CBS’s graphic did not include the 42 percent result.
Couric read this short item on the February 12 CBS Evening News
“Tomorrow the House will begin a three-day debate on a non-binding, symbolic resolution stating its disapproval of President Bush’s Iraq troop build up. But our new CBS News poll shows a majority of Americans wants Congress to go even further. A total of 53 percent say Congress ought to block funding for additional troops or for the war entirely.”
The PDF of the CBS News poll
, conducted February 8-11, reported:
The war in Iraq continues to take a toll on opinions of the President, but when it comes to what Congress ought to do about the war in Iraq, the public remains divided, much as it was last month. A slight majority thinks Congress ought to either block funding for more troops or block funding for the war entirely.
WHAT SHOULD CONGRESS DO ABOUT FUNDING FOR WAR?
Block all funding: 8%
Block funding for more troops: 45
Allow all funding: 42
77% of Democrats want Congress to block funding for additional troops or for the war entirely, while 69% of Republicans think Congress should allow all funding for the war. 44% would like to see Congress pass a non-binding resolution against sending additional troops to Iraq. Nearly the same percentage -- 45% -- oppose the resolution.
These views are highly correlated with partisanship. 57% of Democrats think Congress should pass a non-binding resolution against sending more troops to Iraq, while 65% of Republicans think they should not do so. Independents are divided.