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. Mariann Pepitone

    Spotts: Let me go on record to say that McCrystal can throw rings around Obama when it comes to intelligence. Obama forgot to take his with him when he graduated Harvard. He has the worst administration in presidential history and he himself lackes the experience to be president of this country. Taking only 10 minutes of his time to listen to McCrystal regarding Afghan. When McCrytal made those statements he was right in every word he said regardless of the fact he was referring to Obama. I am glad that finally someone had the guts to say what should have been said months back.

    June 28, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. Very Opinionated, NJ

    Did anyone even read the article in Rolling Stone before coming to a conclusion? It is clear that not only is McCrystal insubordinate (and known for being so), he has been involved in several controversies. Not only did he basically leak a memo requesting 40K more troops in late 2009 to pressure the prez to comply, I took from the article that it was very possible he would ask for another 40K troops in July 2011 when we are planned to start withdrawal. Let's not forget to mention that the taliban is now in Pakistan by the way- Bin Laden isn't even in Afghanistan, so it is now turning into Iraq: the sequel.
    He also implemented an unrealistic policy to protect civilians that ties every soldiers hands from defending him/herself (at the same time providing any insurgent a clear and obvious path for escape). McCrystal has basically gotten an additional 30K troops for a political mission, which plays with the lives of this nation's finest.
    He also was very much involved in the cover-up of Pat Tilman's death, and was promoted to general nine days later by Bush and Rumsfeld.

    I have to admit that Obama clearly needed to have more input and interest in a war that is now longer than Vietnam- he is in fact the Commander in Chief. He shouldn't have waited for McCrystal's request for more troops to strategize the war for 30 days.
    All that being said, it was 100% the right decision to replace him with Patraeus, and I suggest any opinion to come AFTER you read the entire rolling stone article, which came out on Thursday, instead of making a judgment based on a one-liner biased headline. I am not surprised that those who followed the story closely agree it was the right decision. The war needs a drastic change in direction, and I am hoping this is part of it.

    June 28, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  3. ingrid

    I am sorry that McCrystal was let go but I support the president.

    June 28, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. Thomas

    I love the part of the study that shows that people who are paying more attention to the story are almost 3 times more likely to support the president's decision.

    "I don't know much about it, but if that guy is for it, than I'm against it!"

    The dumbing down of America continues and the Sarah Palins and Tea Baggers have put it on fast forward.

    June 28, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    McChrystal turned in his own resignation, for those of you who have forgotten. Furthermore, I haven't seen the entirety of the Rolling Stones article on this matter and probably will never see it because I think there are some things said we still don't know about and probably won't.

    June 28, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Ann, that's being an optimist.

    I find it interesting that approval jumped 53 to 64 percent to those follow the story. Like 11 percent don't care and just disapprove of obama regardless of what he did. I thinks in the minority from sad people like the guy above saying "obozo" trolling around likes it the most clever thing. Oh well, small minded liberals did the exact same to bush.

    It might be just me, but I never cared for polls. Polling 1000 or 3 is supposed to represent 350 million people? I don't care if it said 90 percent approve or disaprove of obama. It rarely plays out anyway, just a tool for the media to dangle. How about reporting what they laws being passed actually mean?

    June 28, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  7. ysidero

    @ Barack.Hussein.Obama-America's-Benevolent-DICTATOR...

    its not a "hatchet job" when one's words are accurately reported, and i havent heard mcchrystal or his staff denying the veracity of the quotes. he was insubordinate, and hes lucky not to be court-martialed under article 88. the free press is how we citizens get to find out how the people's business is being done, and if disloyalty to the chain of command in the uppermost echelons of the military is revealed, so much the better.

    June 28, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  8. jeanne

    so much for free speech............

    June 28, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  9. Marlise

    Dutch-You are incorrect. Generals are not allowed to gripe about anyone in the chain of command according the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It is a violation for any subordinate to denigrate a superior officer. Get the facts straight. This is not a left wing conspiracy, just life in the military. Freedom of speech does not apply when in uniform. The military way is, "it's messed up but I'll do it."

    June 28, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. The Other Micheal in Houston

    Funny to hear some of you that never put on a military uniform because you are cowards comment on the POTUS doing what he is sworn to do, be CIC if the United States Armed Forces. There is a reason why there is such a thing called the UCMJ. General McChrystal had been warned previously about his comments and the comments of his staff made publicly and as a result it cost him his job. He still may face a court martial and rightfully so as well as his staff that made the comments.

    June 28, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  11. Greg in Cabot, AR

    Some people are missing the point that it was McChrystal's Afghanistan war plan that was not working and he can't bad mouth the white house for wanting to look over his shoulder and be active it the war, unlike Bush, who was totally clueless about Afghanistan while he chased the boogey men in Iraq.

    I think the General did this intentionally so he could bail out on his own failed plan and leave the mess for someone else to clean up.

    June 28, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. sheena canada

    phoenix86

    maybe you should read some history and learn what 1939 Germany was really like befor spewing out anymore of your rediculous and uninformed comments

    June 28, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. Debbie

    1. Broke military law and knew better. So strike one.
    2. McChrysal would have fire anyone under him for the same thing. Strike two.
    3. My tax dollars pay this guys salary and retirement. He was warned once and out of arrogance he mouthed off. Strike three and you are out.

    Doesn't matter to me if it was under Obama's administration or if McCain had won. The guy knew the rules and broke them. Your fired!

    June 28, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. beejay A

    I think Obama made the best decision. If I want to badtalk my boss, you betcha, it would be in my bedroom with my spouse, certainly not in front of a reporter...OMG..what did he excpect??? reporters report that's what they do..it's thier job. unlike the Genereal who got caught not doing what he was suppose to be doing.

    I tot this General was suppose to be out Special inteligence guy???
    No wonder why the war was going south.

    June 28, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. Dan

    I was opposed to his replacement until I started reading comments from some of our brave Marines in Afghanistan. When many feel like they had to fight with two hands tied behind their back, it's clear that it was time to replace General McCrystal.

    June 28, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. Old Vet

    Speaking out of turn and against the commander in chief is dulty rewarded.
    Now watch this Ex General align with Palin and the Tea Party.

    June 28, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  17. Thomas

    "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. "

    Honestly, who cares?

    This decision is not made based on a popular opinion. It was a decision that needed to be made by the Executive Branch.

    Public opinion matters not in this type of decision; nor should it.

    June 28, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    He got what he deserved!

    June 28, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  19. Mariann Pepitone

    SOPHIA: You are right. Obama had to let him go to save his own face. He lacks the experience and intelligence to be president of this country and I understand the college students along with the independents were responsible for his win. I read Obama like a book without the cover and never went to college. What happened to them and the independents.

    June 28, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Why was a poll necessary? This was the biggest waste of money in days.

    June 28, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. Obozo's Recod Deficit + Higher Taxes

    Did you listen to OBOZO, "I WILL NOT TOLERATE DISSENSION blah, blah, blah"?

    McCrystal told the truth and it was something "cry baby" didn't like.

    OBOZO is such an arrogant, yet useless, jerk.

    OBOZO, hear me, I think you stink. You can't fire me, so what are you going to do about that.

    POLLS show you can't fool people with your lies and rhethoric anymore. YES WE CAN (raise taxes, triple the deficit, ruin the economy, etc.)

    June 28, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. Mariann Pepitone

    dumm: Where did you get that law: Its not a crime to give your opinion and if Obama didn't like it he should give up his presidency, get into a uniform and fight the battle in Afghan. McCrystal told it the way it was and Obama fired him for the truth. Of course he had to fire him to save face. Lets face the facts. You can be at the head of your class and come out an a–. Do you read me?

    June 28, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. Ego

    I doubt those numbers reflect anything on the truth

    June 28, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  24. Hasta la vista......Idiot....

    It was obvious this General was utilized as a tool for partisan politics when leaking a memo of his Afghan war thesis/policy to the media purposely before Obama announcede his Afghan war policy to the public. This crossed a dangerous line no General should ever cross. The line between superior civilian chain of command and military high command. This was the beginning of the end for him....as he tried to dictate American policy in Afghanistan like he was a Dictator. I think he should've been fired then. Obama probably gave him the "benefit of the doubt' for that stupid mistake. The "Rolling Stone" article was distasteful and disrespectful as he tried to use Adoloescent words to appeal to younger readers. Mainstream America understood the "crap" he was trying to "pull". He may have been a good soldier but he had no business trying to appoint himself Military Dictator over our President. This made him a bad officer.

    June 28, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  25. Four and The Door

    As long as Obama is comfortable that this decision is in the best interest of success in Afghanistan, it doesn't matter what people think. In the end, success is what counts.

    June 28, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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