Doubts over Iraq drive a volatile U.S. campaign
By John Whitesides, Political Correspondent
Sunday, October 15, 2006; 8:02 AM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With three weeks left in a volatile U.S. election campaign, growing public unhappiness with the Iraq war has become the top obstacle for Republicans in their fight to keep control of Congress, pollsters and analysts said.
While a Capitol Hill sex scandal shook up Republicans and President George W. Bush's sinking popularity is weighing them down, public concern over Iraq is the dominant factor driving voters toward Democrats in the November 7 election.
"This election has become a referendum on Bush and a referendum on his principal policy, which in the minds of voters is Iraq," said pollster Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center.
"It is clear the public is angry with President Bush and therefore with Republicans for a war that has his name on it," he said.
Iraq has been a critical theme on the campaign trail all year, with Republicans frequently on the defensive over Democratic calls for a change of course and charges the Republicans are rubber-stamps for Bush's decisions.