CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Today's Quinnipiac University poll is grabbing headlines because of the 2008 presidential horserace results. But its more important finding is that 60% of Ohioans oppose President George W. Bush's plan to send about 22,000 additional troops to Iraq. Even the president's base of white evangelical Christians in Ohio -- a key swing state -- is against the surge/escalation that Bush announced earlier this month.
The worst news for Bush's wartime leadership: He's lost SW Ohio, the geographic region filled with GOP loyalists that tipped the state to him in 2004.
The Hamden, Conn., university surveyed 1,305 Ohio residents between January 23 and January 28. The polling started the same day as the State of the Union address, where Bush made his second pitch this month for adding troops. Quinnipiac piggybacked public opinion inquiries about the war onto its presidential poll, which showed Sen. Hillary Clinton leading the Democrats and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani atop the GOP field. The 2008 election is 21 months away, and a lot, no doubt, will change between now and then.
Right now, though, Ohioans say the war is the biggest issue the nation faces. And they have firmly rejected the president's leadership. It is a stunning turnaround, because in 2004 he won the White House based on Ohio voters who believed he was a competent wartime leader.
Now, 65% of Ohioans disapprove of Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq. Even in Southwest Ohio -- where three counties, Butler, Clermont and Warren gave him the statewide margin of victory -- 55% disapprove. A majority of Ohioans, 55%, say that going to war in Iraq was a mistake, or as the poll question was worded, "the wrong thing to do." In SW Ohio, 57% say the war is wrong. The surprise is that the number is higher than anywhere in the state and higher than in Northeast Ohio, where Bush was never popular to begin with.
The entire poll is HERE. Wade through the presidential results to look up the Iraq War questions.