February 26th, 2009
04:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Poll: Most support plan to bolster troops in Afghanistan

A majority of Americans support increasing troop levels in Afghanistan.
A majority of Americans support increasing troop levels in Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that a majority of Americans support President Barack Obama's plan to send 17,000 more U.S. troops to the war in Afghanistan.

And the survey, conducted by CNN and the Opinion Research Corp., suggests that half of all Americans think the U.S. is winning the war in Iraq, the highest response since that question was first asked in a CNN poll in 2004.

The survey's Thursday release comes one day before Obama is expected to travel to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to announce he'll withdraw most combat troops from Iraq within 19 months.

Sixty-three percent of those questioned in the poll say they support Obama's plan to beef up U.S. troops in Afghanistan, with 36 percent opposing the move.

But only 47 percent favor the war in Afghanistan, with 51 percent opposed to the fighting that first began soon after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

"Obama's plan for more troops wins twice as much support as the surge in troop levels in Iraq won when George W. Bush first unveiled that plan in 2007," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The Afghanistan plan is more popular than the Iraq surge because the war in Afghanistan is more popular."

Only 32 percent supported President Bush's move in January 2007 to beef up U.S. forces in Iraq. A similar amount supported the war in Iraq at that time.

Sixty-two percent say the U.S. can eventually win the war in Afghanistan. That's twice as much as the 31 percent who feel America is currently winning the war.

"Democrats oppose the war in Afghanistan by nearly two to one. They're asking, 'what's our strategy there? We don't want another Iraq' says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider.

"Democrats are apprehensive about Afghanistan, but they're willing to give their president the benefit of the doubt."

As for Iraq, even though 50 percent think the U.S. is winning the war there, two out of three people questioned still oppose the U.S. mission, with just 31 percent backing the fighting in Iraq.

"This indicates that the public thinks the surge worked, but that hasn't changed their view of the war in Iraq at all," says Holland. "As a result, nearly seven out of 10 favor the idea of removing most U.S. troops from Iraq by next spring, a proposal that was a key part of Obama's presidential campaign last year."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted February 18-19, with 1,046 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Extra
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    Hihi. When it comes to war democrats are apprehensive. No guts, no glory. Its your war now, Mr President.

    February 26, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  2. boered1

    Most Americans understand that it was Afghanistan that funded Al-Queada, it was Afghanistan that gave Al- Queada a safe haven, it was Afghanistan that was most directly responsible for the attacks of 9-11 and so they support ensuring the war in Afghanistan is fought, funded as fully as possible, given our current budget situation, and has as many troops as needed to bring that war to a conclusion that will prevent the resurgance of AL-Queada or any other hate group for the near future (there are no long term fixes that can be solved by war alone in Afghanistan).

    I agtree the surge worked in Iraq, for the short term, long enough to be used as a political football, but over the longer run I do not see it havng solved the problems of Iraq. In Afghanistan the surge may work to curb the violence and start to stop the radicals from rebuilding but it will take more than that. Unfortunately we looked away from the real problem and lost ourselves in Iraq. This has had several effects, one) that of putting Afghanistan back into the hands of the radicals (not completley but it is falling more and more that way, when Federal Afghanistan laws are not being upheld but Taliban laws are we lost ground, when women could not attend schools again we lost ground, Afghanistan is slipping back towards the taliban and Al-Queada). two) Americans have lost sight of the reason for the attack on Afghanistan, they have been told so often that the fight against terrorism is in Iraq, that Iraq is the problem in the middle east that they have forgotten Afghanistan and the real reason for the 9-11 invasion. three) people have lost confidence in the US to do what they said they would do militarily. (This is NOT a slam against our military at all!) But the facts are we won WWII in under 5 years, we fought Korea to a tie in under 5 years, we LOST Vietnam in over 5 years and we have been in Afghanistan now for over5 years and are losing ground there. And finally we went into Iraq and have not improved the situation much beyond what it was PRIOR to us going in except we killed the leader, over 4000 Americans Soldiers, uncounted American Mercanaries (Bloackwater et al) and 100s of thousands of civilians, destroed the infrastructure there drove out all the professionals and still do not ahve a good reeason for this!

    February 26, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. Amanda

    We do NOT need another Vietnam. Leave Afghanistan alone.

    February 26, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  4. Lexie

    We should have consentrated on Afghanistan right after 911. I never understood why we in Iraq, except Bush had to honor his daddy.

    February 26, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
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