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.