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. Norma Labno

    March 26, 2010

    Re: War In Afghanistan

    No one polled me!

    It's MORE than time we ended this
    war, the daily loss of life this war
    brings and, that goes for the war
    in Iraq – as well!

    (Who does this polling? Never once
    have I been polled or we would have
    left Iraq & Afghanistant BEFORE we
    started these INDEFENSIBLE wars!)

    norma from nv

    March 26, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. 60's survivor

    the trouble with this country on my humble opinion -no patience!!!

    March 26, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. Kevin B

    Little by little the nightmare of the Bush years years is fading into the background, Americans are begining to have the scales removed from thier eyes and can see what thoughtful and mature leadership looks like once again.

    Good job Team Obama !

    March 26, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. Meka

    Thank you President Obama, for your Insight!

    March 26, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. BeverlyNC

    We should be hearing more from the media on our outstanding and continued successes in Afghanistan. We have captured or killed many important Taliban leaders and I bet most people in America don't even know how well we are doing there.
    Gates has even said we may be able to come home early because we are achieving our objectives ahead of schedule.
    Instead of more tabloid news about how Tiger Woods marriage is doing or what stupid thing some lying Republican said – how about some real news that is positive, shows support and pride in the job our soldiers are doing, and how well President Obama is managing this conflict ( as opposed to Bush who was clueless, who still has us in Iraq because there was no plan for anything, and spent as much money as healthcare costs on this fraudulent war that killed Americans instead of saving their lives).
    Great Job Soldiers!

    March 26, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  6. Save 'em in the womb, so a "christian" holy war can send 'em to the tomb!

    Of course, we feel better.

    Under the guidance of President Obama and Robert Gates, the Afghan troops have jailed or killed more Taliban leaders in one year, than the shrub and the 5 time draft dodger did in all of their years.

    March 26, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. Jackson

    Good, this war is very important, we will not tolerate these barbaric Taliban and we will never give up.

    March 26, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  8. Moderate

    That is because we are going after bin laden, unlike bush/chenney. They and the GOP needed bin laden to be free and alive so they could scare Americans into voteing for whatever they wanted.

    It's sad to look back now and see the minipulation of these two. Go president Obama, bring these cowards to justice or eliminate them. The world will be better off!

    March 26, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. Mike

    Thanks to our troops things are going well in spite of nobama. That is probably why he wants gays in the military, to reduce their effectiveness.

    March 26, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  10. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Well I'm the minority view again, thank God.
    End This War for Profit, bring our brave trrops home! 10 years is more than enough to have won this War if that was the intent?
    What are going to do find this war acceptable after another ten years, 50 years, 100 years?

    March 26, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    More bad news for the right wingnuts.

    March 26, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. Cathy Kayser

    The change in public opinion has nothing to do with what is actually going on in Afghanistan. Public opinion has become more favorable because we have a Democrat as president – the left can accept what he does. President Bush could do nothing right by many Dems. There's no thinking, no analysis, no objectivity here – it's all politics.

    March 26, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  13. Vijay

    Things are looking good for Afghanistan. If democray indeed takes root as seems to be the case now, and the U.S. continues to support them in viatl areas of building their nation (without being their protectectors), the Agfhans could indeed send the Taliban into the hills for good.

    March 26, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  14. Larry

    That is a useless war. STOP IT!

    There is no relationship between fighting that war and terrorism on our own soil!

    Or are we still babysitting the world?

    March 26, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. patsy

    Sad that with all the negativity going on in our country, polls say more people are now satisfied with war and are optimistic in that area.

    March 26, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  16. Angi's mom

    Ask the widows/widowers if things are going well. Ask the children of those dead soldiers if they are growing more optimisist. Ask the parents of those dead soldiers if their opinions are likely to change at the next national poll.

    March 26, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. Preco

    pollsters eh?

    March 26, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. JA/TN

    We all must realize President Obama is merely trying to clean up behind President Bush, i doubt he would started these no true ending wars

    March 26, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. Ancient Texan

    Stay the course and defeat the enemies of freedom. Wimpering, spineless protestors aid the cause of the terrorists.

    March 26, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. Allen in Hartwell GA

    I have my doubts about the validity of this poll. For the last several months the news has been swamped with health care matters (and the efforts of some groups to defeat any reform). Unfortunately Afghanistan has become an afterthought, and I suspect this poll reflects that.

    March 26, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  21. lahori

    Thank you Mr. President for showing leadership and committing our troops to a fight that has to be won.

    March 26, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  22. It's time for another change!

    What a difference it makes when liberals NEED the war to go well. As if it wasn't going well before? What a bunch of hypocrites.

    March 26, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. James Napoli

    Presidnet Obama has demonstrarted excellent leadership regarding Afghanistan. You will recall the series of meetings to map out a strategy. Naturally, teh Republicans critized the approach, the amount of time spent developing a cogent policy and strategy and in some ways the strategy. Oh cousre the ratings conscious right wing radio types had a field day with the situation. But the bottom line is that the President is demonstrating he is an excellent Commander-in-Chief and as implimneted a thougtful poclicy with full the support of the military. So can we expect praise from the Republicans ? We shall see .

    March 26, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  24. Marv

    You folks should be ashamed re putting out a poll that says obama is tied with any rep candidate at 44% do you mean joe the plumber who is a rep and an idiot would beat obama in 2012 not only areyou sick to even say that but it borders on stupidy. You folks underestimate Obama, he says to hell with polls if they are so accurate why not use them instead of voting.Do not estimate obama he has done more in 1 yr. than bush did in 8 years. Would you believe a Rasmussen poll which is owned by the most dangerous man in the world. Rupert Murdock.

    March 26, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. Truth Squad

    Well, considering CNN and all the liberal media told the public on a hourly basis how bad Iraq was, public support dropped.

    Now, the only news that seems to come out of either Iraq and Afghanistan is good news or no news at all.

    I guarantee if the media covered these wars like GWBush was still in office the public would be overwhelmingly against them.

    March 26, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
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