CNN Poll: Opposition to Afghanistan war remains high
December 30th, 2010
11:45 AM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll: Opposition to Afghanistan war remains high

Washington (CNN) - More than six in ten Americans oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan, according to a new national poll. And a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday also indicates that 56 percent of the public believes that things are going badly for the U.S. in Afghanistan.

Full poll results [pdf]

Sixty-three percent of people questioned in the poll say they oppose the war, with 35 percent saying they support the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

"The war has not always been unpopular - back in March, when a majority thought that the war was going well, the country was evenly divided. But by September, the number who said that things were going well for the U.S. in Afghanistan had dropped to 44 percent, and opposition to the war had grown to 58 percent," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Today, with Americans remaining pessimistic about the situation in Afghanistan, they also remain opposed to the war."

The survey indicates a partisan divide, with three-quarters of Democrats and more then six in ten independent voters opposed to the war, and Republicans supporting it by a 52 to 44 percent margin. A minority of Democrats and independents say the war is going well, with a majority of Republicans saying things are going well for the U.S.

This year the U.S. and its coalition partners ramped up the fight against Taliban militants in Afghanistan. Late last year, President Barack Obama ordered additional U.S. troops to the country as part of a strategy that could bring some forces home as soon as July 2011. Officials have said the goal is to end combat operations in Afghanistan in 2014.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted December 17-19, with 1,008 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN


Filed under: Afghanistan
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. jules sand-perkins

    An opinion that a war is not going well is no reason to quit.
    There was a time when leaders would say, "damn
    the torpedoes."
    Announcing a goal of ending combat operations in 2014 does not enhance our position with the enemy. This tactic was not learned from Alexander the Great.

    December 30, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  2. jules sand-perkins

    Our soldiers are not drafted. They volunteer, and they get paid.
    Citizens who have the genes to carry signs reading "Bring Our Troops Home" should not encourage their relatives to volunteer for paid work in our armed forces, as there might be a war somewhere. You never know.

    December 30, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    What percent supports Bush's unfunded war in Iraq?

    December 30, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. John N Florida

    I can understand the frustration over Afghanistan but people have to remember we essentially took the years from 2003 to 2009 OFF in that theater. We left our NATO Allies to take care of it while we took that little side trip to Iraq to fight a war we didn't need to start.
    We and our Allies, including the Northern Alliance, had the Taliban whipped in 2003.
    We took our eye off the ball for 6 years and allowed them to reorganize and rearm. Their allies in Pakistan and Iran set up the new supply system.
    It's no wonder OUR allies won't give a full commitment now. They pulled the load while we were gone and THEIR citizens are tired.
    Now we come back with our bands and cheerleaders and expect them to react with enthusiasm.
    Best thing we could do is to get out, wait for the Taliban to piss the Chinese off, and offer assistance to the Chinese when they go in to clean the mess up.

    December 30, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. jpmichigan

    The War in Afghanistan is a lose-lose situation, as long as the government remains high in corruption. From the President of Afghanistan down there is corruption. We are loosing pperious lives and billions of dollors supporting this lossing battle. Iraq wants us out so be it, but also baack the funds , let them use their own funds from oil to survive.

    December 30, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. Sorensen

    Afghanistan was a sad and serious mistake from the beginning. Thousands of lives and billions of dollars are wasted.
    However, nobody in power has the balls to admit that. It would mean the end of a "political career" and lots of eggs in the
    face.
    By the way, Al quida could plan an attack on the US as easily from Kansas City as from Afghanistan.

    December 30, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. BestProfitBusiness = WAR

    We Americans are idiots (yes i have to include myself b/c I am american)! We are so dumb we don't even see history repeating itself. We only go to war because it creates money! Our government "creates" money out of thin air to pay for these wars. And who gets all that money? The defense contractors. Very little of that money goes to our troops; they get paid like chinese workers while the contractors get paid like CEOs! We need to leave like Vietnam. And how did it turn out after we abandon that war zone based on lies (again!)? Nothing. Now we have international students from vietnam going to our schools. STOP BEING SUCKERS LIKE OBAMA AND STOP THIS PROFIT WAR!

    December 30, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. patricia

    We should have done somethig about saudia arabia!

    December 30, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. Democrats Class Warfare - Destroying the economy and country

    So 6 in 10 Americans have forgtten 9/11 ALREADY?! I can explain 3 in 10 of them as the looney leftists that don't want tofight for anything. But what about the other 3 in 10? Just tired of fighting I guess. Maybe they'll think differently when we pull out and AQ sets up bases again to train thousands of fighers to come here and kill us like they did before the war.

    December 30, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. Me

    Get Osama Bin Laden

    December 30, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  11. Chipster

    Pursuing Bin Laden and the people who attacked us was imperative but the previous Administration diverted resources for their personal vendetta against Saddam Hussein. Besides bin Ladin's escape. the outrageous cost of the Iraq war in money and lives would haunt Bush, Cheney, & Co. if any one of them had an ounce of conscience or integrity. They don't. Shame on the American people for allowing the abuse of power and criminal misuse of our military.

    December 30, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    I am a veteran, and will always support our troops, but I am opposed to the Afghan war, not because of the nature of war, but due to its prosecution. For whatever reason that he was never called to the carpet on it, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld never allowed the proper troop strengths or movements needed to succeed. When our troops supposedly had OBL cornered in Tora Bora province, they were not allowed to pursue and capture. Why? Was he scared that once we caught our new Boogie Man that there would be no need to continue? Was further action in the war necessary to keep Haliburton on the DoD payroll for functions that Rummy decided that troops could no longer do? That was why instead of having a soldier with his piece at hand serving mess, we had a civilian serving mess with a soldier standing next to him with his piece as his guard! Talk about a waste of the taxpayers' money!
    According to Sun Tzu and von Clauswitz when going into a military action, you must commit enough troops to overpower the enemy with your superior forces. Otherwise don't waste your time. While those two military geniuses didn't exactly state it that way, after 400 or so pages of von C and 150 or so pages of Sun Tzu that is what both finally got around to. That was the reason that the British lost the War of Independence to us – they were unwilling to commit the troops necessary to quash our rebellion. The result – we won. We are not committing the troops needed to assure victory in Afghanistan. The result – we are not winning. Same as the British in the 1800s and the Russians in the 1980s!
    Also, by destabilizing two Sunni controlled governments on either side of it, we have unintentionally empowered Iran to the point that they now have significant control of the Iraqi government! Gotta love the Neo-Cons policies!

    December 30, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  13. vic nashville tn

    “Deadly Afghan year takes toll on 101st Airborne”

    Every day Local news report we lost Fort Campbell soldier in Afghanistan really it’s hard

    We can’t trust Ḥāmid Karzay he is taking money from all direction

    We need new strategy

    December 30, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  14. SarahBrown

    I understand both positions. We can't leave Afghanistan in the hands of terrorists, but the war is not going well. Without knowing the ins and outs of the mission there, I still say let's get out. Let's save lives and money. Besides, those that support the war do not support the president so he might as well pull the troops out. . .

    December 30, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. richard757

    The war over their is a joke and just somthing to do because we are bored. we should be more on whats going on here and the hell with them their. let them blow each other to peaces.

    December 30, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  16. Sorensen

    I forgot to mention the top military guys. War is their business and their only claim to fame. Besides, generals don't get
    killed. All the "little" soldiers do. The same "little" soldiers, who in most cases had to become soldiers to achieve a better
    way of life. I am not sure how "voluntary" that is. They had no other choises in the sad society, we live in. (No healthcare,
    education, jobs, etc.)
    So obviously, the top generals want war. And Petreaus is a master of playing the naive politicians and their fragile
    images that they so desparately want to protect. (They also don't want to repeal DADT. Nice!!)
    Good luck with all that when Bohner and company takes over.

    December 30, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. grim reaper

    The war in afgahnistan like all other wars we have been engaged in during the last 50 plus years is not meant to be won. the war is the means by which our country wastes the production of it's people. it perpetuates the ruling class by keeping the general population in a state of ignorance and poverty. the war is waged by the ruling class against its own people.

    December 30, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. Marcus

    Sorensen – 'Mistake'? Serious genius?
    'Mistake' was to have not taken Bin Laden in Tora bora (or whatever is the name of that place full of caverns) and go after the 'man who tried to kill me when daddy was President'!
    'Mistake' was to let draft-dodgers who never ever had ONE SINGLE DAY of real deal military experience in the battlefield (even a staged one like those 'wars' in which the Army tests its men and women) decide what would be the (absurd) strategy to use in the unpaid war in Iraq.
    'Mistake' was to left the Al Qaeda regroup and rearm, and ignoring what THAT meant for the US position within its Allies.
    THESE were the mistakes.

    December 30, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  19. adrian

    look i just got back from a 14 month rotation to iraq, and I have to to this conclusion- it doesn't matter how any ofyou feel towards either conflict. support the men and woman who volunteer to go do our countries business.. wether its good or bad.. cause we dont get to say "this war is futile" or its a lost cause.. i saw kids and families happy that we err there.. these people needed help just as every other country in the world.. but if one child, just one, was saved by my hand, then its worth it.. if my battle buddy made it home in one piece, then it was worth it. if life wasn't lost in the process it was worth it.. doesn't matter if the war is wrong or right, support the soldiers 100% with no judgement is the only right answer i can give.

    December 30, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. nick

    To John

    I will assume by now you know that we werent in Afghanistan to get rid of Al Qaeda or help its citizens, yes we do fight the so called "terrorists", [they don't use that term anymore]...and yes when locals get injured we take care of them, obviously because we came there spreading "democracy" preaching we are here to help,even when the locals didn't want it. Afghanistan has been invaded many times before, and the Russians said the same things we have. They had their hidden agendas just like the U.S. has its.

    December 30, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |