An interesting Gallup poll hit the streets recently. Of particular interest is the breakdown by age of the opinion whether entering into war in Iraq was a mistake or not.
Did the United States make a mistake in sending troops to Iraq?
18-29 Yes – 56% No – 41%
30-39 Yes – 48% No – 50%
40-49 Yes – 52% No – 47%
50-59 Yes – 61% No – 38%
60-69 Yes – 62% No – 37%
70-79 Yes – 70% No – 28%
80+ Yes – 69% No – 26%
A few interesting observations: if you are young enough to be of age to fight in the war, it’s wildly unpopular. If you are old enough that your likelihood to find yourself “in the fight” is extremely low, yet not old enough to remember Vietnam, you are even to roughly for the war. If you are old enough to remember Vietnam, and been of age to fight in it, your age group is strongly against the Iraq war. If you are old enough to remember WWII, your opposition to this war is astronomical. This isn’t terribly surprising.
There is, however, another non-Vietnam theory. The 30-49 group now would have ranged in age from 3 years old at the beginning of Reagan’s first term to 30 at the end of his second term. I suspect, tho the provided data is not granular enough, that war support peaks for the 35-44 age group – kids who would have spent their formative years (8 to 16, and 17 to 25, at the extremes) under a Reagan Presidency. IMO, this supports my theory that Bush is a direct legacy of Reagan.
My opinion that Ronnie was ultimately a bad thing for America continues to grow stronger, as the evidence continues to mount. At least we take take some comfort that Dubya seems destined to shatter the odd alliance of social conservatives, religious wingnuts, and free-market enthusiasts against the rocks, and hopefully that’ll sink the ship and we can get back to the kind of principled Republicanism of people like Eisenhower and Teddy Roosevelt.