Public Split on Rumsfeld Resignation

by Frank Newport

Six out of 10 Democrats want the secretary of defense to resign

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- A meeting of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee on Monday ended with three retired U.S. military officers -- two major generals and a colonel -- calling for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's resignation. This is not the first time that a call for Rumsfeld to leave the Bush cabinet has been heard; New York Sen. Hillary Clinton made a public statement to that effect in August, shortly after Rumsfeld testified at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

At this point, the views of the American public on the issue of Rumsfeld's staying or going are decidedly mixed.

Do you think Donald Rumsfeld should -- or should not -- resign as secretary of defense?

Yes,
should

No,
should not

No opinion

2006 Sep 15-17

46%

44

10

2004 Dec 17-19 ^

52%

36

12

^ Asked of a half sample

Forty-six percent say Rumsfeld should resign, while 44% say he should not. That represents a slight change from almost two years ago, when a little more than half thought Rumsfeld should resign.

Views on Rumsfeld's resignation are predictably partisan.

Republicans

Independents

Democrats

Yes, should resign

21%

51%

63%

No, should not resign

71

36

27

Don't know/Refused

8

13

10

Twenty-one percent of Republicans favor Rumsfeld's resignation, compared with 63% of Democrats and 51% of independents.

The Gallup Poll has also tracked the American public's more basic opinions of Rumsfeld stretching back to the summer of 2002. At that point, when Rumsfeld's boss -- President George W. Bush -- was enjoying high approval ratings (and before the beginning of the Iraq war), Rumsfeld enjoyed a 67% favorable rating, with only 15% saying they had an unfavorable opinion.

Rumsfeld's image began to deteriorate from that point forward. By December 2005, a slight plurality of Americans said their opinion was unfavorable rather than favorable.

The current ratings are essentially unchanged from August, which in turn represented a slightly more positive take than the all-time low point for Rumsfeld in April of this year.

Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,003 registered voters, aged 18 and older, conducted Sept. 15-17, 2006. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Next, we'd like to get your overall opinion of some people in the news. As I read each name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of these people -- or if you have never heard of them. First, ... .

A. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

Favorable

Unfavorable

Never
heard of

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

2006 Sep 15-17

41

45

3

10

2006 Aug 18-20

40

47

5

7

2006 Apr 28-30

37

57

2

4

2005 Dec 16-18

42

45

4

9

2005 Jun 24-26

46

44

5

5

2005 Feb 4-6

48

40

4

8

2004 Nov 19-21

51

39

5

5

2003 Sep 19-21

53

33

6

8

2003 Feb 7-9

58

20

10

12

2002 Sep 23-26

61

19

10

10

2002 Jul 26-28

67

15

9

9

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Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/24730/Public-Split-Rumsfeld-Resignation.aspx
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