Most Americans now believe that President George W. Bush’s administration “intentionally misled” the public in going to war in Iraq, according to a poll.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll came on the eve of a key speech in which Bush will seek public support for the war, which 53 percent of Americans who were surveyed said was not worth fighting.

A record 57 percent say the Bush administration “intentionally exaggerated its evidence that pre-war Iraq possessed nuclear, chemical or biological weapons,” according to the poll.

It was the first time a majority said the administration “intentionally misled” the public, the survey said.

The poll also shows 56 percent disapprove of Bush’s handling of Iraq, including 44 percent who “strongly disapprove”.

Still, 53 percent remain optimistic rather than pessimistic about the prospects for Iraq in the next year, the poll said.

And nearly six in 10, or 58 percent, want US troops to stay in Iraq until civil order has been restored, while 41 percent asked for their withdrawal. ~Yahoo News

It is worth bearing in mind that ABC/Post polls are almost always far more favourable to a sitting administration, and their figures on support for withdrawal continue to be well below those found in other polls. To those 58% who want to restore civil order, I would only note that their position would require our soldiers to stay there for the next 15 or 20 years. (Civil order is a different level of order above simply defeating an insurgency.) I wonder if the support for staying would remain the same if that estimate were put to the subjects of the poll.