Americans’ pessimism about events in Iraq appears to be deepening, a new poll found, despite preparations by US President George W. Bush to announce a major shift in strategy there.

The poll by USA Today and the Gallup polling organization found that fewer than one American in five has a "great deal" of trust in Bush to do the "right thing" in Iraq, as the US leader completes a round of consultations of government and independent experts on how to proceed.

A record high 62 percent of those polled said the war in Iraq wasn’t "worth it," while a record low 16 percent said the United States is not winning there militarily.

The Republican president this week is making a round of visits with Pentagon and State Department officials, policy experts and academics ahead of a major address expected some time this month about a change of course in Iraq.

The USA Today-Gallup poll found most Americans want US troops withdrawn within a year, and three out of four respondents back the recommendations released last week by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, which issued what is generally seen as a repudiation of administration policy in Iraq.

Seventy-six percent of respondents said they would describe events in Iraq as a civil war, in contrast to the Republican administration, which long has held that the Iraq conflict is one part of the global war against terrorism.

The telephone survey of 1,009 Americans, which had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points, found even lower public confidence in Democrats in Congress, who take over control of the US legislature next month — at just 14 percent.

The poll gave the president a 38 percent job approval rating, roughly in keeping with other recent opinion surveys.

Copyright © 2006 Agence France Presse

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