June 29th, 2010
11:03 AM ET
4 years ago

Poll: Most Americans support Afghanistan timetable

A soldier from the 10th Mountain Division walks down a vehicle in Afghanistan. A new poll indicates most Americans support President Barack Obama's timetable for withdrawal.
A soldier from the 10th Mountain Division walks down a vehicle in Afghanistan. A new poll indicates most Americans support President Barack Obama's timetable for withdrawal.

Washington (CNN) - A majority of Americans support President Barack Obama's timetable that calls for a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan to begin in July of next year, according to a new national poll.

A USA Today/Gallup survey indicates that 58 percent of the public favors the troop timetable, with 38 percent opposed. Around three-quarters of the 38 percent who oppose the timetable say they don't think the U.S. should set any deadline in Afghanistan.

The poll's Tuesday release comes as the planned withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in 2011, along with concerns over the progress of the counterinsurgency plan in a country described as a place "where empires go to die," were front and center at Gen. David Petraeus' confirmation hearing in Congress.

Petraeus was named by the president to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who was relieved of his duties last week after the general and his staff were quoted in a Rolling Stone magazine article criticizing and mocking key administration officials.

Petraeus said Tuesday that it "is important to note the president's reminder in recent days that July 2011 will mark the beginning of a process, not the date when the U.S. heads for the exits and turns out the lights."

"We'll need to provide assistance to Afghanistan for a long time to come," he said, quoting Obama.

The poll suggests a partisan divide, with eight in ten Democrats favoring the timetable and nearly two-thirds of Republicans opposed. According to the survey, 57 percent of Independents support the timetable, with 36 percent opposed.

In the hearing, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Petraeus the July 2011 deadline is "harmful," and said that the president needs to say that the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan will be determined solely by conditions on the ground.

The poll indicates that 50 percent say the president's doing a very good or good job handling the conflict in Afghanistan, with 44 percent saying he's doing a poor or very poor job. According to the survey, 76 percent of Democrats say he's doing a very good or good job, with an equal amount of Republicans saying Obama's doing a poor or very poor job. Independents are divided.

The USA Today/Gallup poll was 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
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Main Stream Media at it again?!

    Hmmm....I'm not sure who they polled. I've seen several recent polls showing that Americans don't want a time table and even want more troops.

    June 29, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. eric_in_tx

    That's because most Americans are military ignorant. We could have prevented alot of problems if we had stayed and finished the job in Gulf War I. Unfortunately, we pandered to NATO and let them mess up for the next 8 years with failed weapons inspection and no action because Koffi Annan's kids were getting kickbacks on the oil for food program and Bill Clinton didn't have the guts to call em on the rug about it. STAY TILL THE MISSION IS COMPLETE! Let the bad guys know when you are leaving and they will simply wait. THEY have more patience than we do!

    June 29, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. Rick Austell Ga

    Oh Wait the GOP and the KeyBoard Generals on FOX dont want to hear that!...lol

    June 29, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  4. GI Joe

    Oh goodie – a poll of about 1000 people reflecting the thoughts and feelings of about 30,000,000.

    NOT – again – generally I do not give my permission to any one of those 1000 people to speak for ME

    June 29, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  5. sonny chapman

    Maybe the American People, if not the Republican Party, learned something from Vietnam & relearned it from Iraq. Fighting a war on foreign soil where "victory" depends on that country to end up with a govt. that is friendly to the U.S. & accepted by its' people is a very risky proposition with significant costs in blood & treasure.

    June 29, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  6. PalmReader

    Lets first work on repairing the damage left by the Republican controlled Congress and conservative policies put in place which led directly to the economic destruction of America BEFORE we begin to help *re-build* Afghanistan.

    June 29, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. Four and The Door

    Probably the results would be different if the question was more blunt. How many Americans would be comfortable allowing the Taliban to again have control of Afghanistan if this was the result of our troops having been withdrawn based on a timetable rather than success in their mission?

    June 29, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. Blaum

    Most Americans may support the timetable... but most Americans don't know what strategies are required to win a war....

    Obama is doing the right thing to put Bush's general in charge.... He was wrong to replace him in the first place... but at least he's learning... too bad men have lost their lives in the process...but that's what you get with a community organizer with no experience.... but hey... that's democracy and I'll live with it...

    June 29, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    Don't support it.......demand it be met!!!!

    June 29, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  10. Marty, FL

    Proud to be part of the American majority. Godspeed, Mr. President!

    June 29, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  11. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    This war can't be fought indefinitely. If we see improvement on the ground by July 2011, I think then we should switch strategies from counter insurgency to a counter terrorism. Pakistan and Afghanistan are not the only places Al-Queda lurk. We've got to have a strategy in place to hunt them down where ever they may be. We know they're in Yemen, Somalia and various parts of the Middle East. We should have the capability to strike the at will.

    June 29, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  12. 8 years of the Bush Error = How many years of recession and unemployment?

    Take that John McCrypt!

    And still the cons cannot figure out why the Geezer and Gidget lost in '08

    June 29, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  13. thor

    I think most people want to bring our troops home now,as to waiting till JULY 2011.But that would run counter to the media presentation of the war in order to help their pal Obama keep the troops there.All this in order to show his tough image,thump your chest attitude that has cost so many more soldier's lives than necessary.

    June 29, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. Barack.Hussein.Obama-America's-Benevolent-DICTATOR

    The American people support VICTORY, not some loser with a cut and run schedule. Obozo needs to LEARN FROM GEORGE BUSH about how to win a war! I guess he thinks he knows it all after going to Harvard. What do you expect from an inexperienced community organizer? Jimmy Carter has now been removed from the bottom of the Presidents list and replaced with Obozo.

    June 29, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  15. Pam

    Yes we do!!!

    June 29, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. Dave

    Oh please! The CIA run poppy fields that help fund Wall Street will never be abandoned. There are troops there that aren't going anywhere.

    June 29, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |