McCain Distorts Polling Data, Labels Bush’s Iraq Critics ‘Schizophrenics’

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) repeated his false assertion yesterday that most Americans oppose a timetable for Iraq withdrawal, but went further in criticizing the American public, calling them “schizophrenic” about their position on Iraq:

“Americans are really kind of schizophrenic about this issue,” Mr. McCain said just prior to a fund-raising lunch for Rep. Dan Lungren, a Republican of California. “They’re frustrated, and they want us to get out, but if we ask the American people if we should set a certain date or a calendar, they agree with the president, and with me, and with Dan, that is a recipe for disaster. We have to have conditions on the ground that indicate we can withdraw.”

As ThinkProgress has previously documented, a majority of Americans reject Bush’s “stay the course” policy and want the U.S. to set a timetable for the withdrawal of forces from Iraq. Rather than exhibiting waffling attitudes about the war, polling data has shown an unmistakably clear trend in recent months. Mystery Pollster writes, “Looking at the questions pollsters are now asking about prospective Iraq policy, I see fewer differences and far more consistency, a finding that may reflect a gradual hardening of opinion.”

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