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Central Ohio Weighs In On President Bush's Iraq War Policies

As President Bush prepares for his address to the nation later this morning, his job approval ratings in Ohio and across the nation remain low.

Debate over the War in Iraq is often muted in Central Ohio. But, opinions are held fast. In front of Aquinas Hall on the Columbus State Community College campus a spot check of opinions unveiled doubts about the U-S mission in Iraq but support for the troops. Jason Cochran, an electrical engineering major from Westerville says he pays close attention to the Iraq War. "I think the war in Iraq was probably gone into a little too soon, it was a necessary requirement. But, I think the time has come for something new to be done and a way to get out of Iraq needs to be found as soon as possible. Says Cochran.

Freshman Mike Zuber of Reynoldsburg says he supports President Bush's policies. He too follows the progress of the war closely because he says he has two buddies currently serving in Iraq. "I feel like President is doing the right thing trying to clear up Iraq." says Zuber.

In his speech, the President is expected to cite "major strides" in training Iraqi security forces but he cautions they're not ready to fight without U-S backing. Kimberly Watkins, a business major at Columbus State, says she still has questions about the need for U-S troops in Iraq.

The small sample of opinion at Columbus State is unscientific. But respondents give voice to more widespread views. The latest regional snapshot of President Bush's job performance was taken in a mail poll of registered voteres by the Columbus Dispatch. It has a sampling error of plus or minus two and half percent. Public affairs editor Darrell Rowland runs the poll. "And, frankly our poll shows what pretty much most of the national polls are showing in that support both for the President's handling of his job as president and for the war in Iraq are going downhill, somewhat precipitously." Rowland says the Dispatch poll numbers show two out of three Ohioans disapprove of the job President Bush is doing in Iraq. But, the numbers also say the President has a reservoir of deep support among Republicans.

The Dispatch poll was taken during the last weeks of October in the midst of welcome home ceremonies for Lima Company marines. The White House says its releasing a 35-page document this morning as the President gives his remarks. The paper is dubbed "Our National Strategy for Victory in Iraq.