Petraeus' Popularity Jumps After Testimony, Polls Show

By Randy Hall | July 7, 2008 | 8:23 PM EDT

( - Even though Gen. David Petreaus was the target of attacks by liberal groups and congressional Democrats, the American public now views him - and his recommendations for making continued progress in Iraq - more favorably than before he testified before Congress, according to a number of recent polls.

In survey results released Wednesday by the Gallup polling organization, 54 percent of respondents said they believe Petreaus' plan for removing troops is the right pace or too quick, while only 33 percent view the withdrawal as moving too slowly. Also, 52 percent of those polled said the plan withdraws the right amount or too many troops, while 36 percent said it removes too few troops.

The same poll shows that, even after attacks on his credibility and integrity from Senate Democrats, as well as the ad that asked if he was "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" a higher percentage of respondents now view the top U.S. military commander in Iraq favorably (61 percent) than before his testimony (52 percent), while only 22 percent view him unfavorably.

The Gallup survey comes one day after the Pew Research Center released its latest findings that gave Petraeus high marks for his integrity and proposals.

In that poll, 57 percent of Americans who read or heard about Petraeus' testimony approved of his recommendations for Iraq, while only 28 percent of respondents said they disapprove. A majority of those surveyed (51 percent) also said they believe he presented the situation as it really is.

Pew Research also asked if the U.S. has been making progress or losing ground in seven key areas. Since June, a higher percentage said progress is being made in six of the areas, the highest being "reducing civilian casualties" - which was up by 33 percent.

"Preventing terrorists from using Iraq as a base" climbed 13 percent over the numbers from three months ago, and "defeating insurgents militarily" was up 11 percent.

Three other categories - "rebuilding roads and power plants," "Training Iraqi forces" and "preventing civil war" - had single-digit gains in the Pew Center survey.

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