Growing numbers of people think the U.S. is making progress in Iraq, but most remain convinced the invasion was a mistake and the war will be judged a failure, an Associated Press-Ipsos poll showed Monday.

With U.S. and Iraqi casualties dropping steadily in recent months amid other signs of progress, 50 percent said this year’s troop increase has not helped stabilize the country and 47 percent said it has. The outlook was noticeably more positive than in September, when 58 percent said the beefed-up forces had not calmed things and 36 percent said they had.

By 52 percent to 41 percent, people also think the U.S. is making progress in Iraq. A 56 percent to 39 percent majority said the U.S. was losing ground when the AP-Ipsos poll last asked the question, in September 2006.

In another sign of a gradually more positive view — though still a minority opinion — 42 percent said they think history will judge the war to be a success. In September, 34 percent said it would be considered successful.

Fifty-eight percent said the U.S. made a mistake invading Iraq in 2003, compared with 38 percent who said the decision was right. Those figures have barely moved all year.

In each case, Republicans were far more positive about the war’s progress and prospects than Democrats and independents.

The poll involved telephone interviews with 1,009 adults conducted from Dec. 3-5. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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