Bush is coming to North Carolina to pump up support for the war effort. But the polls show that residents of North Carolina -- which bills itself "the most military friendly state in the country" -- are increasingly disillusioned with his foreign policy.
Sound familiar? This is the exact same scenario that played out last summer, when Bush's trip to Fort Bragg was greated with polls showing flagging war support (which was confirmed by later polls).
This week, Bush is walking into the same minefield of public distrust over the war:
A recent poll by Raleigh's conservative Civitas Institute found that 46 percent of N.C. voters approve of the president's job performance, while 42 percent endorse his handling of the war in Iraq.
At a Capitol Hill news conference Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, a conservative Republican from Pitt County, called for a full debate about the war. And in a phone interview, Republican Rep. Howard Coble of Greensboro questioned an Iraq strategy he described as "conspicuously missing or flawed." [...]
"People are, quite frankly, tired of hearing the same old song about '9-11 changed everything,' 'We have to be concerned about security and terrorism,' (and) 'Wasn't it great that we got rid of Saddam,'" [Dean Rusk of Davidson College] said. "A lot of people no longer find that argument compelling."
The Civitas poll isn't the only one that finds North Carolinians remain suspicious about the war:
An Elon University poll last month showed that 57 percent of people in the Carolinas and three neighboring states oppose the president's handling of the war. Fifty-one percent said it wasn't worth fighting.
What was most interesting about the Elon poll is how military personnel and veterans view Bush and the war:
Bush did somewhat better among respondents associated with the military. Among current military members, reservists, retired military and veterans, Bush scored a 50 percent approval rating, with 46 percent disapproving.
Even among that group, though, the war in Iraq is a liability for Bush, with 49 percent disapproving and 47 percent approving.
In other words, those connected to the military support Bush in spite of his war policy, which they don't like, not because of it.
Bush is sure lucky that the Democratic Party hasn't figured this out yet.