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 George W Bush to work together.
Underscoring US political divisions, Democrats expressed more confidence and optimism than Republicans.
The poll was conducted November 10-12 as the public adjusted to Washington's new division of labour, with Bush in the White House and Democrats holding the reins of Congress for the first time in 12 years.
While voters in surveys on election day said corruption and scandal in Congress was one of the most important factors in their vote, the post-election poll showed that 37 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent of all adults in the AP-Ipsos poll said Democrats do not have a plan for Iraq; 29 per cent said they do. The poll of 1,002 adults has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
The party has been of one voice in criticising Bush's strategy for the war but has been more equivocal on how to move in a different direction.