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Iraq war shadow over US campaign

The charge that Obama has done a flip-flop on Iraq does not appear to have stuck. Fifty-six per cent of those polled said Obama has been clear in his position, compared with a 60 per cent score for McCain.

world Updated: Jul 16, 2008 21:45 IST

Expect the battle over the Iraq war to intensify with a new poll bringing some good news for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama but also showing what some analysts saw as a potential weakness.

A Washington Post-ABC News survey found that 50 per cent of Americans prefer a timetable for withdrawal of troops from Iraq, an approach favoured by Obama. Forty-nine per cent of the 1,119 adults interviewed by telephone July 10-13 did not support a timetable, which Republican nominee John McCain says would squander recent successes and could lead to chaos in a fragile country.

Sixty per cent said the broader war on terrorism can be a success without the US winning in Iraq. In contrast, 51 per cent believe the war in Afghanistan is a must-win. Obama has said he would deploy more US troops in Afghanistan.

The charge that Obama has done a flip-flop on Iraq does not appear to have stuck. Fifty-six per cent of those polled said Obama has been clear in his position, compared with a 60 per cent score for McCain.

Obama did not do too badly on the trust factor either. Forty-five per cent would trust him more to handle the war in Iraq vs 47 per cent for McCain.

The only question on which McCain fared significantly better was who would be a good commander-in-chief. While 72 per cent think McCain would make a good commander, 48 per cent think Obama has the right stuff.

“I think this is one dimension on which he will be tested and where Republicans will try hard to raise big doubts about Obama,” Geoffrey Garin, a Democratic pollster, told the Post.