March 19 marked the third anniversary of the Iraq War _” a war that has declining support in the Sacramento region, according to a recent survey conducted by Sacramento State Sociology Professor Amy Liu and a team of around 30 students.
“I think this is a very unique study because we do not have comprehensive data set for the region,” Liu said.
Liu said the survey indicates three things: The majority of Sacramento residents do not think the war was worth it, people are becoming more pessimistic as the war continues and opinion is divided on what to do with the troops.
Angela Pyara, a senior majoring in sociology and psychology, co-wrote the report with Liu and said she anticipated the major findings in the survey.
William Dorman, a Sac State government professor, said the declining support for the war can be attributed to the largely unsuccessful reconstruction of Iraq and the continued casualty rate of American soldiers.
According to the survey, 26 percent of the Sacramento region feels the U.S. situation in Iraq will worsen a year from now, as opposed to 14 percent in 2004 _” a survey also conducted by Liu.
Liu’s poll shows that 36 percent of the Sacramento region felt the war was worthwhile compared to 34 percent of the California population, according to a January 2006 Public Policy Institute survey cited in the regional survey.
A March 13 CNN/USA Today/Gallop poll echoes the region’s sentiment, indicating that 38 percent of the U.S. population felt the Iraq war was going well, according the CNN Web site.
The survey was conducted from Feb. 4 to March 5 by Sac State students through telephone interviews of random participants within the Sacramento region, including Sacramento, Yolo, Placer and El Dorado counties. Of the counties, El Dorado and Placer counties indicated the most optimism of the war, leaving Yolo and Sacramento counties least supportive.
The poll also separated views by race, income, gender and county of residence. In general, white men were most supportive of the overseas combat in Iraq.
“Americans increasingly say they do not support the war or the president, but are unwilling to do much in demanding us to withdraw, which is a contradiction,” Dorman said.
Keith Vortsen, an undeclared junior, said he feels the media are doing a disservice to the armed forces by speaking so negatively about what goes on in Iraq.
“I have talked to troops from all branches and they say it’s like they don’t know where the media are getting their information,” Vortsen said. “There are schools, clean water and electricity that were not available to the people in Iraq before.”
The survey shows that 50 percent of the Sacramento region feels a timetable should be set to withdraw the troops from Iraq. Support for U.S. withdrawal divides political parties, for 69 percent of Democrats, 27 percent of Republicans and 49 percent of other voters are in support of setting the timetable.
“People are not supporting it and have mixed feelings on what to do with the troops. The survey shows a divide between Democrats and Republicans,” Pyara said.
Liu said the survey shows Republicans have increased their support for the war while Democrats have become more opposed to it.
“There is a deep political divide over the war,” Liu said.
Vortsen said pulling the troops out now would be the worst thing the U.S. could do. “Everything would collapse and it could open up Iraq to another country or terrorist group to take over,” Vortsen said.
Dorman said the survey was conducted before more recent events such as President Bush’s statement that the U.S. troops will stay in Iraq past 2008 and the national security statement to keep the preemptive war policy.
“The president has been making a series of speeches, which will create a temporary support boost, or at least it has in the past,” Dorman said.