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51% in Poll See No Link Between Iraq and Terror Fight

www.nytimes.com By CARL HULSE and MARJORIE CONNELLY Published: August 22, 2006

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 — Americans increasingly see the war in Iraq as distinct from the fight against terrorism, and nearly half believe President Bush has focused too much on Iraq to the exclusion of other threats, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The finding that 51 percent of those surveyed see no link between the war in Iraq and the broader antiterror effort was a jump of 10 percentage points since June. It came despite the regular insistence of Mr. Bush and Congressional Republicans that the two are intertwined and should be seen as complementary elements of an overall strategy to prevent domestic terror attacks.

Should the trend hold, the increased skepticism could present a political obstacle for Mr. Bush and his allies on Capitol Hill, who are making their record on terrorism a central element of the midterm election campaign. The Republicans hope the public’s desire for forceful action against terrorists will offset unease with the Iraq war and blunt the political appeal of Democratic calls to establish a timeline to withdraw American troops.

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