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57 Percent Say Bush Administration Intentionally Exaggerated Evidence
Majority of Americans believe Bush administration misled public on Iraq: poll Tue Jun 28, 2:14 AM ET
Most Americans now believe that President George W. Bush's administration "intentionally misled" the public in going to war in Iraq, according to a poll.
The ABC News/Washington Post poll came on the eve of a key speech in which Bush will seek public support for the war, which 53 percent of Americans who were surveyed said was not worth fighting.
A record 57 percent say the Bush administration "intentionally exaggerated its evidence that pre-war Iraq possessed nuclear, chemical or biological weapons," according to the poll.
It was the first time a majority said the administration "intentionally misled" the public, the survey said.
The poll also shows 56 percent disapprove of Bush's handling of Iraq, including 44 percent who "strongly disapprove".
Still, 53 percent remain optimistic rather than pessimistic about the prospects for Iraq in the next year, the poll said.
And nearly six in 10, or 58 percent, want US troops to stay in Iraq until civil order has been restored, while 41 percent asked for their withdrawal.
The Bush administration has rejected calls from US lawmakers, including from the president's Republican Party, to set a firm timetable on the withdrawal of US troops.
Administration officials say US soldiers will leave Iraq when Iraqi security forces are capable of defending the country.
Bush will go to the huge Fort Bragg army base in North Carolina on Tuesday to give a speech marking the first anniversary of the transfer of civilian authority from the United States to an Iraqi government.
The ABC News/Washington Post poll showed that 51 percent of Americans disapprove of the two-term president's overall performance, with 40 percent strongly disapproving.
Comparatively, former president Bill Clinton's highest strong disapproval rating peaked at 33 percent in 1994, while the strong disapproval rating for Bush's father George H.W. Bush reached 34 percent in 1992, according to the poll.
The poll was conducted on June 23-26 among 1,004 adults and has a three-point margin of error.