Knowing what they know now, a majority of Republican primary voters in the early presidential nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina say they still think it was right for the United States to invade Iraq, according to a new Vox Populi-Daily Caller poll.
“The Republican primary electorate remains divided on the question of the Iraq war,” says Luke Carter of Vox Populi Polling. “Fifty-nine percent of respondents believe the invasion was a good idea. However 33 percent of Republicans disagree, including 14 percent who say it was definitely not the right decision.”
The exact question — asked of 1,008 GOP voters on May 19 and 20 — was: “Looking back now, and regardless of what you thought at the time, do you think it was the right decision for the United States to invade Iraq in 2003?”
Nearly all the potential Republican candidates have joined in on the debate over the last few weeks about Iraq after Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor mulling a run, made news with a messy response to the question.
Bush told Megyn Kelly of Fox News he “would have” authorized the war in Iraq even if he still knew everything we know today. But, claiming to have misheard the wording of the question, Bush backtracked. “Knowing what we know now, I would not invade,” he later said.
Most Republican presidential candidates are now saying they wouldn’t have gone into Iraq.
“If we knew then what we know now and I were the president of the United States, I wouldn’t have gone to war,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said.
“I think, even at the time invading Iraq was a mistake and I thought the war, even at the time, was a mistake given the intelligence,” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said.
“Not only would I not have been in favor of it, President Bush would not have been in favor of it,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said.
“Any president would have likely taken the same action President Bush did with the information he had, even Hillary Clinton voted for it, but knowing what we know now, we should not have gone into Iraq,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said.
But others, like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, say it was not a mistake to go into Iraq.
“I think at the end of the day, if I knew now then what I know now, a land invasion may not have been the right answer, but Saddam Hussein was firing at American planes patrolling Iraqi skies under international law,” he said.
The margin of error in the poll is plus or minus 3.1 percent. Automated telephone technology was used for 848 of the interviews, while mobile based survey technology was used for 160 of the interviews.
The poll was conducted by Vox Populi Polling for The Daily Caller.