Americans are growing more optimistic about the war in Afghanistan and opposition to the war has dropped below the 50 percent mark for the first time in nearly a year, according to a new national poll. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) – Americans are growing more optimistic about the war in Afghanistan and opposition to the war has dropped below the 50 percent mark for the first time in nearly a year, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday indicates that 44 percent of the public says things are going well for the U.S. in Afghanistan, with 43 percent saying things are going badly.
"That's a huge 23-point jump since last November, when two-thirds thought that things were going poorly in the war," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
NATO-led coalition forces are currently pressing an offensive against the Taliban around the town of Marjah. Dubbed Operation Moshtarak, the offensive was launched in February by an international coalition of 15,000 troops, including Afghans, Americans, Britons, Canadians, Danes and Estonians.
Forty-eight percent of people questioned now support the war, with 49 percent opposed. This is the first time since May of 2009 in CNN polling that opposition has dropped below 50 percent.
"Opposition to the war is down a bit since January and down significantly since the fall," adds Holland. "The intensity of opposition to the war is also down. Last fall 39 percent said that they opposed the war and their minds were made up. Today that number has dropped to one in three. Optimism has also helped Barack Obama."
The poll indicates that 55 percent of Americans approve of how the president's handling Afghanistan, up from 42 percent last fall.
Support for the war is highest among rural Americans.
"A 55-percent majority of people who live in rural areas now support the war, up 14 points since the fall. That's the biggest increase in support for the war among major demographic categories. Some 58 percent of city residents and 52 percent of suburbanites oppose the war," says Holland.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.