Peace With Honor II

More

A commenter points out that to compare the 1968 election to '08, and public opinion on Vietnam to public opinion on Iraq, you have to factor in the role of the Tet Offensive: Support for the Vietnam War was higher in 1967 than support for the Iraq War is in 2007, but Tet hadn't happened yet, and when it did it drove the "Vietnam was a mistake" numbers way up.

Here is a useful (if somewhat difficult-to-parse) comparison, from 2005, of public opinion on Vietnam versus Iraq; the Vietnam data starts in August 1965; the Iraq data in March 2003:

vietraq1.jpg

After the Tet Offensive, the percentage of the public saying that the Vietnam War was a mistake rose from around forty percent toward fifty percent, reaching 53 percent in August of 1968 (If James Joyner's analysis of this data is right) and continuing to rise slowly throughout the Nixon years. (However, the "mistake" numbers for Vietnam didn't reach today's "Iraq was a mistake" levels until around 1973, five years after the first Nixon campaign). So the Iraq War will be about 5-10 percentage points more unpopular in this election than the Vietnam War was during the '68 race - assuming, that is, that the Iraq War numbers don't worsen (or improve) in the next six months.

Update: More thoughts from Jonah here.

Jump to comments

Ross Douthat is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Where the Wildest Things Are

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where the Wild Things Go

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Adults Need Playtime Too

When was the last time you played your favorite childhood game?

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down