February 26th, 2009
04:00 PM ET
5 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. Nobama

    Gee – where's Code Pink and the Anti-War numbnuts now that Obama has pledge GREATER troops to waring in Afghanistan???

    Oh that's right.... only GOP Presidents get protested, harrassed, and burned in effigy. Democrat Presidents get praise when they escalate wars.

    February 26, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  2. Zion

    Hmm...When God is on your side President Obama, you can't fail.

    February 26, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. Rick

    Somebody might want to let Harry Reid know that we are winning the war in Iraq against the insurgents and the democrats.

    February 26, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  4. Matthew, Detroit

    Nancy Pelosi and Rachel Maddow Dont.

    February 26, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. Lush Limprick is the real Republican Nazi Committee chairman!

    About time we are fighting the one we should have been fighting, but no the baby shrub had to take vengence out on Hussein since daddy shrub did not finish the job.

    Maybe now we will use bunker busters to bomb the moutains until they are level and leave!

    February 26, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. Angus McDugan

    Not racists!

    February 26, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. Charlie in Maine

    I've said it before and I will say it again. After 9/11 the world was with us and we went into Afganistan to rid the world of Osama Bin Ladin and liberate the Afgan people from the Tlaiban. It was a noble mission and had every chance of success. The the idiot neo-cons decided that there were as Cheney put it "not enough good targets in Afganistan" and the lied our way into the disaster that has been the Iraq experience. If we has spent 1/5th of the 12 million dollars an hour that we have flushed down the hole in Iraq..............

    February 26, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. Stu-Florida

    THIS is where we should have been in the first place. Far too many lices and dollars were sacrificed in Iraq.
    The Armed Forces knew and know this all too well!
    Hit 'em hard and hit 'em fast!

    February 26, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  9. Voterinohio

    Iraq part 3. Great.

    February 26, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. Almond-Lippman Consensus

    While I don't particularly support any "nation-building" concepts thought up by neo-conservative ideology, I think that the war in Afghanistan is a just war, and we should try our hardest to defeat the Taliban and Al-Qaeda worldwide. I feel the biggest problem people have with these wars/conflicts we find ourselves in is the fact we embed ourselves for so long after we are there. Investing so much in infrastructure and aid to these countries where we simply didn't care at all before. This may sound cruel but, this can be summed up in a simple way. Get in, defeat the enemy, and leave, while spending as little money as possible. I think American public opinion is so volitile and fickle that we shouldn't base foreign policy on what American's perception is because 99 times out of 100 the public's perception is distorted! These polls show this point!

    February 26, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  11. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Maybe the "war against terrorism" would have been over by now, or at least Bin Laden would have been caught if George didn't take his eye off Afganistan and move it to Iraq where we seemed to cause more chaos than what was there before, and we still don't know what happened to the $80 BILLION that went missing under the first ambassador's watch.

    February 26, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. walleye

    I would rather hear Obama say he will hunt down and kill Bin Laden, than to listen to false phrases like "Mission Accomplished." What an arrogant fool.

    February 26, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  13. Nobama

    Obama announces his budget.... Dow falls to below 7200.

    Gosh – why is the market rejecting Obama's tax-and-spend, deficit ballooning, waste-filled budget???

    February 26, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  14. Mariann Pepitone

    I did not support the Iraq war and I will not suppot the decision of sending troops into Afghanistan. Bush was responsible for invading Iraq when he was told by Powell there were no WMD there. Its time to pull all the troops out of Iraq and let that country fend for themselves along with Afghanistan. Why are we protecting other countries when they should protect themselves. We have lost over 4500 young men because of a senseless decision and its time to put an end to it.

    February 26, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  15. Granforchange

    I CERTAINLY DO NOT AGREE WITH THIS POLL.. THERE ARE SEVERAL ANTI WAR GROUPS AND PEACE GROUPS THAT ARE NOT TOO HAPPY WITH OBAMA SENDING ADDITIONAL GROUPS.. IT WOULD BE NICE IF YOU COULD GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT FOR A CHANGE ,,,,,,,

    February 26, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  16. Real Change

    You can't catch a bunch of third world murderers with tanks and jets and ships. We are chasing a fly with a sledge hammer. You'll get them with spies and snipers.

    The Soviets lost here also, because you can't fight a conventional war against a ban a hit-and-run thugs.

    Our obsesion with this has done for Osama bin Laden what he could never have done for himself; that is to make him the most important man in the world. Without our help he is nothing more than an third world murderer who hides in caves.

    Bring the troops home.

    February 26, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  17. Is it 2013 yet?

    You hypcritical never served a day in your life sheep, are beyond a joke, you are simple sheep.

    The drumbeat was to end this war and the other war during the last few years and this "I thought about serving" commander in thief was against every aspect of the surge and wouldn't have waged either WAR and Cindy Sheehan and the like were parading around hammering Bush.

    Sheehan was used and then thrown to the curb when she started getting to uppity and challenged Pelosi. 'Nother story for another day...

    But now that he quietly anounced he was sending 17,000 soldiers over there WITH NO PLAN, you bleating morons all think it is a good idea now.

    UFB.

    For the bahhhh, bahhhh, record, I volunteered and proudly served 6 FULL years and it was the proudest thing I have ever done.

    I am so disgusted with you "typical people".

    One and done Barry.

    February 26, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  18. JONNY IN GEORGIA

    PLEASE PULL OUT OF AFGHANISTAN PERSIDENT OBAMA SPEND THE MONEY HERE ON THE MEXICO BORDER REAL WAR ON DRUGS ON GANGS RIGHT HERE IN THE USA SOVIET UNION LOST WITH 150 000 TROOPS PLUS 250 000 AFGHANISTAN TROOPS PLUS AND THEY LOST SO RESEARCH IT.

    February 26, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. Mariann Pepitone

    19 months is too long to decide pulling troops out of Iraq. I understood that he would start pulling troops out within a year when he becomes president. He should start pulling troops out within six months. These troops are getting killed protecting the Iraqi's and the Iraqi troops should be protecting their own people. The Vietnam war is a good example of what happened to our troops. We don't need that again.

    February 26, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    Aaaaaaaaaw, did your talking points fail to bring about the desired negative response Rushaholics? I'll go get you a tissue.

    February 26, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  21. no corporate politics

    A lot of independent voters (not Dem or Repub) called this out during the campaign:

    – Obama is NOT going bring all troops home
    – Obama is sending a LOT MORE troops some places
    – Obama will continue to SEND money to support assaults in Gaza
    – Obama will leave troops in Iraq to payback Big Oil donors

    And all the sheep said web sites like the Green Party were crazy to suggest this about the messiah.

    February 26, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  22. Griff............... on The Truth...

    He is only doing what John McCain would have done. Trouble is he does not: "Know Why".

    February 26, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    And here come the GOPers trying to deny that the poll is accurate and accusing it of targeting Dem biased individuals.

    Sorry guys, that's not how these polls work. The methodology is a tad more sound than that. I know yo uhave a problem accepting inconvenient facts but you're going to have to start learning...it's the first step to adapting and adaptation is the key to survival.

    February 26, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  24. greed is not good

    It's not rocket science...send home 100,000 troops from Iraq to regroup/rest.

    Then send the remaining 25,000 in Iraq over Afganistan. Send fresh troops later and shorten the deployments.

    February 26, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  25. Alicia

    Well let's all wait to see what the Republicans blog on this. I mean the Ohio twitter and McCain who discoverd modern technology finally.

    I support this because this was the real problem anyway. Dubya took us to Iraq looking for WMDs and because Saddam tried to kill his daddy...poor thang.

    Maybe we will get Bin Laden finally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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