On the occasion of the ten year anniversary of the United States’ invasion of Iraq, the Washington Post and ABC News asked two interesting questions about the legacy of the war in their most recent national poll.

The first question asked:

All in all, considering the costs to the United States versus the benefits to the United States, do you think the war in Iraq was worth fighting, or not?

Just 38{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} said the war in Iraq was worth fighting, while a solid majority (58{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) said it not worth fighting. As seen in the chart below, this sentiment was pretty consistent across age groups, with seniors slightly more adamant that the war in Iraq was not worth fighting.


Respondents were then asked a second question on the war in Iraq:

Do you think the war in Iraq has or has not contributed to the long‑term security of the United States?

Among all adults, the results were split, with 46{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} saying the war in Iraq has contributed to the long term security of the United States, and 48{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} saying that the war has not. However, a look at the results by age reveals a pronounced generational gap.

A majority of respondents age 18-39 say the war HAS contributed to the long term security of the U.S. (51{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} has contributed/44{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} has not contributed). Among respondents age 65+, the results are flipped (39{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} has contributed/51{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} has not contributed).


Generational differences are key drivers of opinion on a variety of issues in the country, and the Iraq War is clearly no exception. While voters across age groups do not believe the war worth fighting, the distinct difference by age on how the war impacted the safety and security of the country demonstrates that younger voter are more likely to see the war in Iraq as having a positive impact on the safety and security of the United States.

All data from a Washington Post/ABC News national poll conducted March 7-10, 2013 among 1,001 adults

Public Opinion Strategies