September 1st, 2009
02:30 PM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll: Afghanistan War opposition at all-time high

Opposition to the war in Afghanistan is at an all-time high.
Opposition to the war in Afghanistan is at an all-time high.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Opposition to the war in Afghanistan is at an all-time high in a new national poll.

Fifty-seven percent of Americans questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday say they oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan, with 42 percent supporting the military mission. The percentage of those in opposition to the war is up 11 points since April, and is the highest ever in CNN polling since the launch of the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan soon after the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

The poll indicates that opposition to the war is coming mainly from Democrats and independents.

"Fifty-seven percent of independents and nearly three-quarters of Democrats oppose the war. Seven in 10 Republicans support what the U.S. is doing in Afghanistan," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Democrats mildly opposed the war in April while independents and Republicans favored it. But opposition has grown 18 points among Democrats and 10 points among independents."


The poll suggests that nearly six in 10 think the U.S. can win the conflict in Afghanistan, but only 35 percent questioned in the survey say that American is currently winning the war.

"The public doesn't see Afghanistan as a lost cause," Holland says. "But there may be a lot of Americans who question whether a victory in Afghanistan is worth the cost."

The poll's release comes after the two deadliest months for the U.S. military in Afghanistan. In August, 48 U.S troops were killed in the fighting, surpassing the previous high of 45 the month before. On Monday, the top American commander in Afghanistan said in a statement that success in the conflict is achievable if the United States revises its strategy. That statement came as Gen. Stanley McChrystal submitted a long-awaited report on the state of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.

"The situation in Afghanistan is serious, but success is achievable and demands a revised implementation strategy, commitment and resolve, and increased unity of effort," McChrystal said in the statement.

President Barack Obama has called Afghanistan a "war of necessity" and has placed a great emphasis on defeating the Taliban and al Qaeda militants operating there and in Pakistan.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Friday through Monday, with 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Full results


Filed under: Afghanistan • Popular Posts
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. jaye

    Well, DUH!
    We've wanted out of this war, and the Iraq war, for YEARS!!!
    Trouble is, the war mongering republicans aren't happy unless there's a war going on.
    Bring our troops home!

    September 1, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  2. Darrel from Denver

    What a shock....

    Americans do not like war and are, in general, non-interventionists. Now that this war is the one in the forefront, it should not be news that we don't like it.

    September 1, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. Trade Freedom for Security, Lose Both

    Of course public support is eroding. What do you expect to happen when the Commander-in-Chief says that victory is not necessarily the objective?

    September 1, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. LacrosseMom

    Most of the time, I do not polls much credibility. However, I believe that the majority of Americans want to bring our Troops home and stop the endless war. EIGHT YEARS IS ENOUGH!

    TRILLIONS WASTED THAT WE NEED AT HOME!

    PRESIDENT OBAMA PLEASE END THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN!

    September 1, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  5. Carlos

    Democraps against a war, thats a new one, they want the liberty to spout their liberal agenda but don't have the guts to fight for it.

    September 1, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  6. Hugo

    Bring them home, what a waste of American blood, stop Obama's WAR NOW! This is a Vietnam in the making that will continue to have increased attrition rates of our young American men and women.

    September 1, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  7. Obama Victim

    it was my understanding that Obama was going to end these needless wars???

    September 1, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  8. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Well Duh! We have not learned the lessons of Vietnam? get our sons and daughters out of harms way now. I'm sick of sacrificing our young people to fight a global war in some remote corner of the world for corportate profit.

    September 1, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. eric mitchell

    Unfortunately we wasted lives , resources and that good old so-called American patriotism fighting for little or nothing in Iraq. This is where the battle was and is , so in the face of this unpleasant reality we must be steadfast.

    September 1, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. Jon in CA

    "I will bring the troops home in 18 months!!" [Obama on the campaign trail]

    So either Obama didn't know what he was talking about.... or he was lying.

    Which is it, libs? Is he incompetent or a liar??

    September 1, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  11. Fair is Fair

    I thought the dems were all for Obama's escalation of hostilities in Afghanistan? And can someone tell me why there's no coverage of our dead soldiers? August was the deadliest month of the war, yet the mainstream media is silent??? From this alone you can tell who resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

    September 1, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. T'SAH from Virginia

    I currently OPPOSE the war in Afghanistan!! I also opposed the war in IRAQ! But we are there and hopefully – which I truly believe is President Obama's ultimate plan – we're getting the HECK out of both places..................... SOON ................. JUST WATCH!!!

    "I am T'SAH and I approve this message...."

    September 1, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. KJ

    I would love to exit the war in Afghanstan. However, people forget this was the war against the people who were directly involved in the 9/11 attack. While we wasted years fighting a war in Iraq based on false and inaccurate information, we allowed the true enemy to re-establish themselves. We must finish the job we started in 2002 and eliminate the Taliban and stablize this country. Otherwise, we will be at risk to another attack from the same people. Obama has to clean another mess left by Bush and Cheney.

    September 1, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    What's going to be funny is listening to GOPers try to convince Dems and Independents that Obama has somehow gone back on campaign promises with respect to Afghanistan. Wrong. The fact is, there was a large chuck of the Dems hearing only what they wanted to hear when it came to Iraq and Afghanistan (and a few other domestic issues), rather than actually listening to what Obama was saying. In any event, have fun treading the hypocrisy tight rope on this one GOPers...you might just find your feet in your mouths if you try to make too much hay with this poll.

    September 1, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. wikwox

    Americans are sick of war, any war, and want to be done wasting lives and money on it. Besides the WingNuts who's surprised? Afghanistan will be what it always has been: a horrible desolate place of no value. I pity the people who live there but it's thier country, not mine.

    September 1, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  16. jfs Memhis, Tn

    So what and when was the all time LOW ???? CNN and all the news media are taking pages from a very old book written by W.R.Hearst. You folks have Obama at an all time low (LORD KNOWS WHERE THE RESPONDENTS ARE FROM). You have OVER PUBLICIZE the NEGATIVE TOWN HALL MEETINGS ! It appears that you are pushing your commentaries, news channel, and editorials AGAINST A very important public insurance bill. Its apparent that some of your Moderate and Liberal news folks have had some meetings with the boss helping to GUIDE them to a new found conservative tone. Looks to have happened about 5-6 weeks ago. You folks are so lackluster on political news that you are assisting in manufacturing discontent and what you folks would like tp present as newsworthy. Mabe it just me ???

    September 1, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. GI Joe

    Gee – sorry about that. We were busy the last 7 years getting Haliburton, Cheney, Bush et al all set for retirement with the costly war in Iraq to get the man "that tried to kill my daddy".

    Too bad Bush abdicated his office of President to Cheney and let him rule the world instead of going after Bin Laden like he should have.

    Thank Cheney for the distractions from the REAL war on terror.

    September 1, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  18. smitty

    no foreign power has ever sucessfully taken over afghanistan.i doubt we can achieve what russia and other countries have tried.checkout your history books!

    September 1, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  19. Kevin in Ohio

    Yep, keep it up....its called self-fulfilling prophecy. The more the left stands against this war, the more our enemies are envigorated to keep up their brutal campaign of destruction. Where is the left-wing sympathy for all the bruatlized people in Afghanistan? Especially the women.......

    September 1, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. Jeanne H.

    Remember the reason why we were in Afghanistan. It was for a valid reason, not for a bogus reason as with Iraq: We were hit on 9/11 and the people who hit us were in afghanistan. We had to remove them and follow up to ensure they will not be back in power in that country. for many years under Bush we wasted billions and precious lives when we should have concentrated in getting the war in Afghanistan under control. During those years unfortunately the Taliban and Al Qaeda got plenty of time to recuperate and strengthen themselves, so we now are suffering the results of very bad decisions from the previous administration. We need to follow through with this war so the people who hit us on 9/11 will never be in power again.

    September 1, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  21. stormerF

    You mean Obama's War is in disfavor with the Democrats? That's hard to believe after all the hoopla they threw at Bush for Iraq. Maybe they figued if Bush was getting oil for his war,Obama could get Opium for his?

    September 1, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  22. Hopeful Optimist

    This is the war that we should have waged from the very beginning (9/11). But the Bushies figured it might be a little more than they could handle so they chose a softie like Iraq. Kinda reminds of the schoolyard bullie doesn't it? Anyway, Afghanistan is right next door to Pakistan (nuclear weapons), so if they should ever get their hands on those they could make things kinda dicey for the rest of us. Puts us in a precarious position.

    You know, Jefferson said about slavery that it was like holding a wolf by the ears - you didn't like it but you dare not turn it loose. Same analogy about Afghanistan because of nukes next door. This could indeed be Obama's Vietnam.

    September 1, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  23. Out of Afghanistan

    This is a job for the U.N., not the U.S.

    September 1, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  24. once upon a horse

    If President Obama wants to see his poll numbers go up, all he needs to do is start bringing most of our men and women home. This country is war weary and the current conflict in Afghanistan really has not been explained why we are even over there. He's gotten a pass so far because not too many have paid much attention to this war, but now more of our troops are dying over there and it needs to be explained to us why this is when it's going to end.

    September 1, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  25. Steve from WI

    Obama doesn't have much to gain anymore by being tough in Afghanistan, and the window of opportunity to make a difference justifying the cost of war had closed during the Bush era. It's time to go.

    September 1, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
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