June 28th, 2010
12:19 PM ET
4 years ago

Poll: Majority back relieving McChrystal

President Obama removed Gen. Stanley McChrystal from his command.
President Obama removed Gen. Stanley McChrystal from his command.

Washington (CNN) – A majority of Americans support President Barack Obama's decision to remove Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, according to a new national poll.

A USA Today/Gallup survey released Monday indicates that 53 percent of the public approves of the move, with three in ten saying they disapprove and 17 percent unsure. Of those who say they are following news reports of the story very closely, approval jumps to 64 percent.

The poll was conducted Friday and Saturday. The president relieved McChrystal of his duties on Wednesday, after the general and his staff were quoted in a Rolling Stone magazine article making comments that appeared to mock top administration officials. Obama named Gen. David Petraeus to replace McChrystal.

According to the poll, Americans are divided on what was the best way to handle the situation. Thirty-eight percent of those questioned say relieving McChrystal was the best move, but 37 percent say it would have been better for president to have reprimanded McChrystal but not remove him from his command. Another 12 percent say Obama should have not taken any action, and 14 percent were unsure.

Of those following the story very closely, 49 percent say removing McChrystal was the best move, with 36 percent saying a reprimand would have been the best move, one in ten saying on action would have been best and six percent undecided.

The survey indicates a partisan divide, with nearly three out of four Democrats approving of Obama's decision to remove the general, while 53 percent of Republicans oppose the move. Forty-nine percent of independents support the president's move, with 31 percent saying they disapprove.

The USA Today/Gallup poll conducted June 25-26, with 1,044 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Polls • President Obama • Stanley McChrystal
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    General's are allowed to gripe, McCrystal just got cought doing so.

    June 28, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  2. Steve (the real one)

    Finally a poll the liberals will like! I said before the President did not have a choice but to can this guy! No choice! Leave the general in place and he (Obama) would have plummetted in respect and would have appeared weaker than ever! Once again (say it with me) NO CHOICE! Don't need a poll for that, CNN but thanks for trying!

    June 28, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  3. phoenix86

    Funny how McCrystal is not quoted in the article. Guess you can get in trouble from second-hand sources in the Obama administration. Obama is 1939 Germany.

    June 28, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. dumm

    Generals are NOT allowed to gripe, glad Paetreus pointed that out

    June 28, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. gt

    tough lesson.. to bad he was a good commander,,, but what he said about biden is true ,,, what a idiot ,, his ice cream shop remarks were typical gutter talk... he is worse than cheney,, no class what so ever...

    June 28, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. Turnabout is Fair Play

    When you mouth off against your boss and his subordinates and you're getting paid by the company, you would expect to get fired when you got caught wouldn't you? This wasn't McChrystal's first time, he was warned two other times but kept it up. Just like at work, verbal warning, first written warning, FINAL written warning and/or termination. Most of America agrees with President Obama and so do I. This general was getting paid on the very taxpaper's dime who voted in Obama and his cabinet. How foolish do you have to be, general, to think that nothing would happen?

    June 28, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. SOPHIA

    Obama had to let him go. Had no choice.

    June 28, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. Will 18E

    Gen. McChrystal was correct in his frustration the suits were giving him back in D.C. For it was the political side of the coin that was lacking in the mission, and not the military. However, by giving an interview to RS, this was truly a major laps of judgement or perspective by the General. However true or correct, he should have kept it to himself and his staff.

    June 28, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. Barack.Hussein.Obama-America's-Benevolent-DICTATOR

    Obozo had no choice. It is just a cryin' shame to lose a great General like McCrystal to something as stupid as this.

    The rest of the military should take note and not agree to interviews with left wing "reporters" that will almost certainly do a hatchet job on them and their staffs. These people come with an agenda and will ensure you don't get an article that places you in a good light.

    June 28, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  10. Ann

    having no choice doesn't mean the choice was good. WH should learn from this sad event, the general had perhaps serious reasons to do what he did.

    June 28, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  11. Spotts1701

    "Guess you can get in trouble from second-hand sources in the Obama administration."

    McChrystal had an obligation under Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice to avoid contemptuous words from being published, and to avoid his subordinates using such words in the presence of other junior officers.

    Doesn't matter if he was the one who uttered the words or not, under Article 88 he's just as culpable for them.

    And frankly, would McChrystal allow any subordinate under his command to do what he did?

    June 28, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. MikeH

    Phoenix86, do you type out your posts in a psych ward?

    Just wondering 'cause your posts make no sense, they show an almost psychotic disconnect from reality.

    Now listen carefully Phoenix00, McCrystal does not deny he said these things, the writer got the quotes first hand. If this is not reality enough for you, talk to the doctor about changing to new meds.

    For everyone else, it is against military law for McCrystal to do what he did, he would've had to been court-marshalled if he did not get fired.

    June 28, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  13. Doyle Wiley, MI

    The President used his only possible good option. As a General it was absolutely necessary that McChrystal always (24/7) display good military bearing and discipline. Anything less then that sends the wrong message to those below him in rank. Without bearing and discipline we would not have a military.

    June 28, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. Retired Army in San Antonio

    Will 18E - June 28th, 2010 12:40 pm ET

    Gen. McChrystal was correct in his frustration the suits were giving him back in D.C. For it was the political side of the coin that was lacking in the mission, and not the military. However, by giving an interview to RS, this was truly a major laps of judgement or perspective by the General. However true or correct, he should have kept it to himself and his staff.

    ============================================================

    Sorry Will......but you're only half right.

    McChrystal should have kept those thoughts to himself. A military commander cannot share his gripes/complaints, ESPECIALLY with his staff.

    That does, in fact, violates the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

    June 28, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. Turnabout is Fair Play

    phoenix86 June 28th, 2010 12:28 pm ET

    Funny how McCrystal is not quoted in the article. Guess you can get in trouble from second-hand sources in the Obama administration. Obama is 1939 Germany.
    ------------------

    And Bush was Russia's Stalin, remember when you had whisper if wanted to say something bad about Bush or you might just get a visit from Secret Service and Gitmo'd? You were considered "Un-American" if you said anything against him? We all remember but being as brainless as you are, you conveniently forgot, not to mention the "Give up some of your rights to make us safer from the terrorists" bull of the Patriot Act. Man, you make Dan Quail and Sarah Failin look like geniuses with your amazing stupidity.

    June 28, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  16. Rush Limbaugh marries ambulance chaser,and were still laughing

    Hes still a big eared dork.

    June 28, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. airdoc

    Didn't Obama and the msm hate General "Be-Tray-Us" and replaced him immediately upon taking office? Now the only option Obama had was to replace Gen. McCrystal with Gen. Petraeus and to quote the msm:
    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant and oh, yes – brilliant !!

    June 28, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  18. Chipster

    It's such a shame that a media-driven incident caused this. This could even have been the work of a disgruntled General's Aide for all we will ever know. I understand why the President had to dismiss him and have confidence in General Petraeus.

    "Republicans oppose the move.." Oh, what a big surprise! They are blocking more than 100 nominations because they don't want the President (thereby, the nation) to succeed. What a bunch of selfish children!

    June 28, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. Jim in St. Johns, FL

    Obama may have relieved the General for making comments that "appeared" to be "mocking top administration officials" and that is OK – the CnC has every right to relieve a general for whatever he deems an appropriate reason.

    However, the WAR in Afghanistan continues. The present strategy (Obama's) doesn't seem to be working yet Obama has set an arbitrary withdrawal deadline (more politics than military reason). It remains to be seen if Obama will simply cut and run to bolster his chances in 2012 or will seriously prosecute the war.

    Just as Obama may end a general's career for making comments – he can also cut short a diplomat's career for being incompetent. Perhaps Obama would do well to try to determine what prompted the general and his staff to deride certain state dept types who apparently haven't been part of the solution in Afghanistan.

    A real CnC would look at the entire "team" and just not fire a general so the CnC looks good in the weekly news cycle.

    Time will tell.

    June 28, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. once upon a horse

    it's obvious that the anti-Obama folks STILL complain whenever this man does something. The same ones griping about the general being let go for speaking his mind would be the same ones who would call Obama weak and not in control if he had f kept him. I'm sure if I had done something similar to my boss I would be getting an unemployment check today....ooops I wouldn't because the GOP said no to that also.

    June 28, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  21. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    If the President wanted to do so, he could have had Gen. McCrystal court-martialled. At least the President let him resign with some dignity.

    June 28, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  22. Mary

    McChrystal shows that the "ugly American" still exists: an arrogant braggart who contributes to Europeans disliking the American cowboy archetype. McChrystal has shamed the United States of America and should lose more than his job.

    June 28, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  23. Mariann Pepitone

    I agree with McCrystal for every statement he made about Obama and his dumb administration. Yes, they are a joke. Napolitano, Gibbs, Gates, Sebelius and especially Emmanuel. What was he thinking when he hired them. And only spending 10 minutes with the general when he should have sat down and listened to what he had to say about Afghan. He may be the commander in chief but that doesn't mean he shouldn't be told if he is wrong. The rules need to be changed on that policy. Obama doesn't know anything about foreign policy or the war in Iraq and Afghan. He is feeling his way thru or reading books on the Vietnam war. In my opinion, he will be a one term president losing in 2012 if he runs at all. This is the year of the republicans and I hope they take back the house so Pelosi can step down.

    June 28, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. tuumba

    Loose lips sink ships

    June 28, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. Rob

    This war-mongering piece of garbage should have been axed along with Bush and Cheney after the stunt they tried to pull with Pat Tillman.

    June 28, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
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