March 26th, 2010
03:49 PM ET
4 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. Luvinia Knight

    Again – the gospel according to the polls.

    March 26, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. Mike

    What a great job our soldiers are doing over there! They are the best military force in the world.

    And what a great job Obama has done. Too bad detractors were busy criticizing his "dithering" when he was actually putting together a coherent plan for success. That was something Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld did not think was worth the time, money or blood to spend 20 minutes doing.

    He has also managed to disrupt Al Qaeda and Taliban leadership to a much greater extent than any time during the previous administration. I am amazed that some people think he is making us less safe – they are buying into GOP and Fox propaganda.

    March 26, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. Bobbie in Maryland (Could I PLEASE get out of moderation???)

    I am anti-war....However, I support the President in this effort. There are efforts by the military to drastically reduce the number of civilian casualties( Bush & Co. just labelled these PEOPLE as "collateral damage)So much for Rethug's "family values"!
    Obama is trying to limit damage & build Afghanistan.
    God bless you, Mr. President!

    March 26, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. GuyInVA

    President Obama was unable to comment on the poll results because, according to Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, the president was, "... uh, er busy uh, ya know, uh, walking across the uh, the uh, the uh Potomac."

    March 26, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. James Miller

    This is where we were supposed to be all along, doing what needs to be done............

    March 26, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. I am the Great and Sociopathic Wizard of Rush and I Say . . .

    CNN runs two polls ("Obama in trouble" is one of the headlines) that are a week old – done before health care passed.
    Are you trying to be irrelevant?

    March 26, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    President Obama and Bob Gates together focussing on priorities? Imagine that!

    With Obama at the helm, more has been accomplished in Afghanistan in one year than had been in the previous 7 years combined.

    I know that multi-tasking is difficult for you wingnuts, and while everything is probably going at a much faster pace than most of you are used to. I do encourage each of you to try keeping up. Not only are your talking points outdated, they are also extremely boring.

    March 26, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  8. Liberal wingnut

    Now that the liberal is in the white house the media backed off the negativity!

    March 26, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Mr. President – bring the Troops Home.

    March 26, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. John

    No American wants war. This Poll is bogus and false.

    Bush misled Americans into Iraq war. Bush Lied to the American people that Iraq had WMDs. Bush was interested in Iraq Oil, not in Saddam Hussein.

    We lost 4400 US Troops for Bush's greed. More than 25000 US Troops are permanently handicapped and due to the injuries suffered in Iraq war.

    We have lost the Iraq war and Iraq is now the friend of Russia.

    We could get Bin Laden if we wanted to. Bush never wanted Bin Laden, Bush was interested in Oil.

    March 26, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  11. Right Leaning Independent

    Sure because the media is not putting the troop deaths on the front page of the paper or headlining the evening news every day ! They want their messiah to look good to the American public!

    March 26, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  12. Tulsa

    lol... republican stooges. The DEMOCRATIC President has turned the tide and the people believe in what he's doing.
    Swallow hard and man up. Obama is doing what the Republicans couldn't..... WIN.

    March 26, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. beevee

    This is the war that the US should have waged several years years ago to curb the islamic terrorists in the first palce as President Obama has suggested. it si time now.

    March 26, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. Cindy

    I hope we mop it up quickly, and bring our soldiers home.

    No more dumb wars!

    March 26, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. Bill

    Why are we interested in Afghanistan?

    Are we responsible to eliminate all terrorists in the World ?

    Terrorists are all over, in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya, Nigeria, and many more.

    We should defend our homeland rather than going after the terrorists in other countries.

    Going after terrorists in other countries puts our Troops in harmsway, is more costly and we are hated because we invade other countries and lands.

    These terrorists belong to countries in poverty. Where do these poverty driven terrorists get sophisticated weapons? Obviously from advanced countries like Russia.

    So why should we waste our time and money to go after these poverty driven terrorists? Let us just secure our borders.

    March 26, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  16. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    Amongst people who have absolutely no idea of what is going on in Afghanistan, there is a major increase in optimism that whatever it is that they have no clue about is better than the previous situation they also know nothing about.

    So that must mean things are actually better.

    March 26, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. El Kababa

    GuyInVA repeats a frequently seen comment that Obama supporters see him as some kind of god or something. It is very weird, but who knows what goes on in Conservative minds.

    "President Obama was unable to comment on the poll results because, according to Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, the president was, '... uh, er busy uh, ya know, uh, walking across the uh, the uh, the uh Potomac.'"

    Lyndon Johnson once said that if he did walk across the Potomac, the headline next day would be "President Can't Swim."

    If Obama did walk on water, Fox News would say "B. Hussein Obama Mocks Christ; Christians Deeply Offended. O'Reilley Interviews Pat Robertson Tonight at 10"

    March 26, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. russ327

    “We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat,” said Gen. Stanley McChrystal yeah wow wow

    March 26, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  19. Vic of New York

    Wow... So what hole has DICK Cheney and his Wacko Daughter Cheney found to hide under?

    The whole world is LAUGHING AT YOU Dick. At least George Jr. knew enough to hide his face after he left office.

    But NO, you and that other worm: Rove, thought you could bluff your way through with the help of FOX (Full Of XSIT) News and the wacko right wing.

    Now EVERYONE is LAUGHING at YOU DICK ! ! ! What a clown you turned out to be ! ! !

    March 26, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  20. Will

    Well check your facts all the higher ups in charge are the ones that bush appointed after much trial and error, who is the one staff that remained on from Bush the Sec of Def, Robert Gates a republican from Texas and former president of Texas A&M University. All the Generals that are running things now were appointed by Gates and his system he instilled when he took the office in 2006, look how things have gone since 2006 better yes.

    March 26, 2010 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. El Kababa

    Right Leaning Independent wrote: "... the media is not putting the troop deaths on the front page of the paper or headlining the evening news every day ! They want their messiah to look good to the American public!"

    Now which corporation is it that is the Liberal Media? Time-Warner? Disney? Rupert Murdoch? And can you really believe that the CEOs of those corporations think Obama is the Messiah? Where do you guys get this stuff. You can't be making it up because you all say the same things.

    In fact, 25% of all right-wing lunatics (that is to say, Republicans) believe that Obama is the Antichrist. (Harris Polls).

    March 26, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. Julie

    Republicans are Warmongers.

    Vietnam and Iraq wars were started by Republicans.

    We lost both Vietnam and Iraq. Afghanistan is a big question mark?

    March 26, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. Debby

    Bush/Cheney war bad poll numbers, Obama/Biden war good poll numbers. Is there a doctor in the house at CNN. Gupta doesn't count he is on your payroll and is told what to say.

    March 26, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. William, from Cali

    Time and people, bring about change! I'm glad this President was not in office in 2001... and G.W. Bush was!

    March 26, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. Danny

    Russia is neighboring Afghanistan. Just like Mexico is neighbor to USA.

    Now if Russian troops invade Mexico, what will we do? We will supply weapons to the Mexicans to fight Russian troops.

    This is exactly what Russia is doing, supplying weapons to Taliban. Russia wants us out of Afghanistan. Just like we would want Russia out of Mexico, if Russia had invaded Mexico.

    Therefore we are actually not fighting Taliban, we are indirectly fighting Russians.

    March 26, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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