March 26th, 2010
03:49 PM ET
8 years ago

CNN Poll: Jump in optimism on Afghanistan

ALT TEXT 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.

Full results (pdf)

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.

Filed under: Afghanistan • CNN poll
soundoff (93 Responses)
  1. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Yes because Bush/Cheney only cared about Iraq and lined-up their golfing pals with no bid contracts. Obama has more than doubled the number of troops there and not only that...the President now finally is getting Pakistan to get serious about cooperation.

    March 26, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. Liberal wingnut

    Well when the media doesn't bash it ten times a day it may have that effect.

    March 26, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. Solo76

    U.S. Troop Casualties – 4,386 US troops; 98% male. 91% non-officers; 82% active duty, 11% National Guard; 74% Caucasian, 9% African-American, 11% Latino. 19% killed by non-hostile causes. 54% of US casualties were under 25 years old. 72% were from the US Army Non-U.S. Troop Casualties – Total 316, with 179 from the UK US Troops Wounded – 31,716, 20% of which are serious brain or spinal injuries. (Total excludes psychological injuries.) US Troops with Serious Mental Health Problems – 30% of US troops develop serious mental health problems within 3 to 4 months of returning home US Military Helicopters Downed in Iraq – 74 total, at least 36 by enemy fire IRAQI TROOPS, CIVILIANS & OTHERS IN IRAQ Private Contractors in Iraq, Working in Support of US Army Troops – More than 180,000 in August 2007, per The Nation/LA Times. Journalists killed – 140, 93 by murder and 47 by acts of war Journalists killed by US Forces – 14 Iraqi Police and Soldiers Killed – 9,411 Iraqi Civilians Killed, Estimated – A UN issued report dated Sept 20, 2006 stating that Iraqi civilian casualties have been significantly under-reported. Casualties are reported at 50,000 to over 100,000, but may be much higher. Some informed estimates place Iraqi civilian casualities at over 600,000.

    March 26, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. Predator Drone

    This president is fighting this war the way it should've been fought from the very beginning. Al-Queda leadership is being taking out one by one.

    "We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in it's defense. And to those who seek to instill violence against innocence, we say to you now, our spirit is stronger, you can not outlast us and we will defeat you!" – POTUS 1/20/09

    March 26, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  5. Chad from Tampa

    Funny how the media doesn't give us the daily death count like they used to when Bush was Pres. The media is pathetic.

    March 26, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Every life and dollar sacrificed in this hellhole Third World country is a waste in our futile effort to establish a "government" of the world's largest opium supplier. We can crush Islamist terrorists without nation-building and at our borders. The whole "fight them there rather than here" argument is bogus.

    March 26, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    I guess it is all about who's making the decisions, the process they're using to reach said decisions, results.

    I think Americans tend to feel more comfortable with someone who is making decisions based on RELEVANT information and pertinent personnel, versus speaking to THEIR DEITY and issuing a mandate. It is also most reassuring to not have one's CIC prematurely AND erroneously shooting off at the mouth with MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

    March 26, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. Doug,lib jersey

    Thank the media. It is their #1 objective to make wars look bad with a republican president and to totally ignore them when a Democrat is in office.

    Its beyond comical how they covered the war under Bush, and now ignore all the bad things they trumped up under Bush with Obama at 1600.

    One good thing when a lib is president, now all Americans are supporting our troops and the majority of Democrats hoping to hear about them getting killed when Bush was in office is now over.

    March 26, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. John

    This can't be true since Obama is appeasing the enemy, soft on terror and selling out America to his Muslim extremist friends...
    Oh I know. The entire time he took to review and establish a coherent policy in Af-Pak was to somehow implement Bush's plan (?)
    Give credit where credit is due, the guy took the time to do things right and so far it seems that it's working

    March 26, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. Preston kathy

    Mr obama dowhat ever it takes to protect are troops

    March 26, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. Gil

    I hope that the right wing nuts will give credit to Obama the way they give him the blame for everyting else? Probably not! Oh, notice how when the Stock Market was at its low of 7400 points they blamed him for that, but nothing now that it has even supassed 10,900 briefly yesterday/ Hypocrites all of them!

    March 26, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  12. Bertina

    This could be because the media has pretty much stopped reporting on specific strategies and missions going on in Afghanistan.

    March 26, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. al in memphis

    First, end this war as quickly as possible.

    Second, I glad we didn't listen to Ronmey and other Republicans who said Obama would not be able to handle foreign policy.

    Third, Obama made campaign promises to the people and looks like he keeping them. That guarentees that he will be a one term president, because we don't own politics– corporations do.

    March 26, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. HypocriCNNation!

    More Of The Daily Theory Application Supplied By HypocriCNN And Its Resident Stooge Keating Holland. Can You Morons Make Up Your Minds On What You're Going To Misrepresent Today!

    March 26, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Jim

    My God! It can only be due to the magnificent leadership of Obama! Oh sorry I took your headline CNN.

    March 26, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. TK

    I'm sick of hearing about opinion polls! Lets just here about how the situation is on the ground. And how soon we can get out!

    March 26, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  17. Texas Doc

    Economy on the rise, health care fixed, war going well......what a great change of pace. Still waiting for the "Thank You President Obama and Democrats for saving our collective butts". Y'all will someday recognize this as a new Gilded Age. Not to worry though, we will slip up and elect Republicans who will undo all of our prosperity...and give the Democrats yet another chance to shine.

    March 26, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. LacrosseMom

    To bottom line is:

    44% of Americans say things are going well in Afghanistan.

    43% of Americans say things are going badly.

    ________________________________________________________48% of Americans support the war

    49% of Americans OPPOSE the war

    Sorry, but that's hardly ........ support! The MAJORITY still OPPOSES the war!

    Any one who knows the history of conflicts in Afghanistan knows that the Brits went home after a decade of fighting; the Russians also left after almost 10 years.

    The U.S.A. WILL go home from Afghanistan eventually, the Taliban are evil, but they are not Al-Qaeda.

    March 26, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  19. carlos

    Because we have the LEADERSHIP that we lacked with the previuos administration which really SCREWED things very ugly and this repulsive rove was part of it

    March 26, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  20. R.B.

    I think our men and women in the military have done a great job in Iraq and Afghanistan; it's time to put their interests first. When Israel and other allies are more worried about their own politics and local fixes than the safety of our troops, I think it's time to support OUR TROOPs and not pseudo-allies who show NO RECIPROCITY of alliance whatsoever.

    March 26, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  21. The Calabash Kid

    Have pity on the poor Conservatives! Afghanistan is looking better. We're getting out of Iraq. We're working on an arms treaty with the Russians. Unemployment is slowly going down. The Dow Jones average is approaching 11,000. The Health Bill has passed and is now law.

    Things are looking up for America and her President Barack Hussein Obama. How fortunate we are to have elected him. Of course, I think Clinton, Richardson, or Biden would have been about as good a President.

    Now let's see, what can Conservatives protest about? Oh yes, How about dirty air? Obama wants to clean up our air, and I know Conservatives believe in our First Amendment right to breathe polluted air if we want to. That's something the Tea Partiers can protest now. "Give us back our dirty air!" "Thomas Jefferson liked dirty air!" "You will have to take my dirty air from my dead clenched lungs!"

    Sorry. I couldn't help myself.

    March 26, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  22. Monster Zero

    Yes, let's hurry up and finish over there in Afghanistan so we can get our National Guardsmen back on US soil to protect us from our own radical leftist Congress and Whitehouse..

    March 26, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  23. David

    Again, because of the surge, the surge, the surge that Obama never acknowledged in Iraq. It was already alarming then that his policies are all the old and no change as turned out to be.

    March 26, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. pt

    Nothing new here but the cheerleaders. The king's supporters disparage opposition while promoting his positions. We need unbiased media.

    March 26, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. james germann

    well cnn and msnbc: maybe if you should the negative of aspects of any war, like you did in iraq, every negative on the hr, just maybe the polling would be completely flip-flopped.We cant have that now, that would also effect obama's approval rating. Whatever happened to the collateral damage stories, and interviews with family members of killed civilians,after a bomb went mistakenly astray. This is the cleanest and sanitary war i have ever seen. Oh, its just been that way since we had a change of presidents. That's why people,who know how media shapes public opinion, don't like jounalists these days.We know that you may be getting the particular story right,to a degree, but its the story that you cover and don't cover,that is so revealing. Social security is about to bust, and cnn doesnt cover it,maybe because it hurts the healthcare agenda. How can anyone think that this massive health ins bill is not going to cost a lot of money. (Well the CBO said... many americans are not that stupid).

    March 26, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
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