TOM KLUDT – JULY 7, 2014, 10:49 AM EDT
Republicans have hammered President Obama in recent weeks for the unraveling security situation in Iraq, arguing that he should have left some American troops behind in the troubled country. But a poll released Monday found that Americans widely disagree with the GOP.
The latest national survey from Quinnipiac University showed that 58 percent of American voters believe Obama's decision to withdraw troops in 2011 was the right thing to do.
Conversely, 61 percent said that George W. Bush's decision to invade in 2003 was the wrong thing to do. Fifty-one percent of voters blame Bush for the current calamity in Iraq.
With Islamic militants storming through Iraq, the GOP's criticism of Obama has centered around the 2011 withdrawal, the terms of which were actually negotiated under Bush in 2008. Republicans such as Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) have assailed the President for the withdrawal, insisting that the decision squandered security gains made in Iraq after the 2007 troop surge.
Obama didn't earn high marks in the poll either, with 55 percent saying they disapprove of his handling of the situation in Iraq. And despite Bush's own woeful numbers on Iraq, 39 percent said he conducted foreign policy better than Obama. Thirty-five percent gave the edge to the current President.
The neoconservative pundit Bill Kristol, a vocal cheerleader of the war, said last month that Obama could rally the country to get behind yet another military intervention in Iraq, but the Quinnipiac poll said otherwise.
According to the survey, 56 percent said it is not in America's national interest to get involved there, although 72 percent said it is likely that the U.S. will intervene if the militants take over Iraq.