Washington — More Americans rank Iraq as the top priority of the new Democratic-controlled Congress, but nearly three out of five say the party does not have a plan to deal with the war.
In the aftermath of an anti-Republican wave, the latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll showed lingering uncertainty about the country's direction and the ability of Democrats and President Bush to work together. Underscoring the country's political divisions, Democrats expressed more confidence and optimism than Republicans.
The poll was conducted Nov. 10-12 as the public adjusted to Washington's new division of labor, with Bush in the White House and Democrats holding the reins of Congress for the first time in 12 years.
While voters in Election Day surveys said corruption and scandal in Congress were one of the most important factors in their vote, the postelection poll showed that 37 percent of all adults said the war in Iraq should be at the top of the congressional agenda during the next two years. The issue of terrorism, the second most mentioned priority, was ranked highest by 15 percent of those polled.
Though voters apparently embraced the Democratic mantra of changing course in Iraq, a majority of the public did not detect a clear Democratic blueprint for ending the war. Fifty-seven percent of all adults in the AP-Ipsos poll said Democrats do not have a plan for Iraq; 29 percent said they do. The poll of 1,002 adults has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.