WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new national poll indicates that Americans don't think things are going well for the U.S. in Afghanistan, but they're not calling for a withdrawal of troops from that country.
But the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday,suggests that there's a very different public take on the war in Iraq: a majority thinks things are going well in that country - but two-thirds oppose the war there.
The poll also indicates that Americans would approve sending U.S. forces into Pakistan if the Taliban were poised to take control of that country.
Fifty-two percent of those questioned in the survey say they think things are going well for the U.S. in Iraq, with 47 percent say things are going badly. But opposition to the war remains high, with nearly two out of three opposing the conflict.
"Independents are most likely to oppose the war in Iraq while believing that things are going well in that country," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Only a third of Independents support the war, but 56 percent of them have a positive view of how things are going for the U.S. in that country."
When it comes to the war in Afghanistan, the poll suggests that only 36 percent of Americans feel things are going well for the United States, while six in ten say things are going poorly. But Americans are split over the war, with 50 percent in favor and 48 percent opposed.
"In Iraq, there appears to have been a connection between support for the war and perceptions of how it was going," Holland notes. "In the spring and summer of 2005, for example, when we saw the number who thought that the Iraq war was going well slip under the 50 percent mark, we saw a corresponding drop in support for the war. It looks as if that hasn't happened in Afghanistan so far, although it's difficult to predict how the public will react to future events."
While Americans are divided on Afghanistan, they seem to be on the same page when it comes to neighboring Pakistan, where government forces are battling Taliban insurgents. Nearly three in four people polled feel that it would be a major problem for the United States if the Taliban deposed the current government of Pakistan and took power in that country, with one in four saying it would only be a minor problem.
And nearly six out of ten would favor sending U.S. ground forces into Pakistan if the Taliban took control of the country.
"Most Americans think things are going well in Iraq, but they appear to have given up on that war. They are more interested in the threats coming from Afghanistan and Pakistan," says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey was conducted May 14-17, with 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.