A newly released Washington Post-ABC News poll shows voters are evenly split on whether or not the U.S. should withdraw its troops from Iraq according to a pre-determined timetable.
According to the poll results, 50 percent of those asked favor a timetable, while 49 percent do not.
In addition, 47 percent of those polled say they trust Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain’s plan for dealing with troop withdrawal – which maintains events, not timetables, should dictate when America should pull out of Iraq – while 45 percent say they trust Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s plans for removing all combat brigades from Iraq over a proposed16-month period.
Independents, who purportedly will play a key role in the November election, oppose Obama's timeline by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent.
The poll, conducted July 10-13, shows 48 percent feel Obama will make a good leader of the U.S. military, while a much wider margin (72 percent) say McCain will make a good commander-in-chief.
"The most important number by Election Day is whether a majority of the electorate has achieved a comfort level with Obama as commander-in-chief," Democratic pollster Geoffrey Garin tells The Washington Post.
"I think this is the one dimension on which he [Obama] will be tested and where Republicans will try hard to raise big doubts about Obama," says Garin, who considers Obama's 48 percent commander-in-chief approval rating in the poll a strong starting position.
Further data garnered from the poll results show 63 percent think the decision to go to war with Iraq has not been worth the costs, while 51 percent say the war has been worth fighting.
Forty-six percent of respondents say the U.S. is making progress toward restoring civil order in Iraq, but 51 percent say the United States must win in Afghanistan to succeed in the war on terror.
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