CNN Poll: Afghanistan war arguably most unpopular in U.S. history
December 30th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
12 months ago

CNN Poll: Afghanistan war arguably most unpopular in U.S. history

Washington (CNN) – Support for the war in Afghanistan has dipped below 20%, according to a new national poll, making the country's longest military conflict arguably its most unpopular one as well.

The CNN/ORC International survey released Monday also indicates that a majority of Americans would like to see U.S. troops pull out of Afghanistan before the December 2014 deadline.

Just 17% of those questioned say they support the 12-year-long war, down from 52% in December 2008. Opposition to the conflict now stands at 82%, up from 46% five years ago.

"Those numbers show the war in Afghanistan with far less support than other conflicts," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "Opposition to the Iraq war never got higher than 69% in CNN polling while U.S. troops were in that country, and while the Vietnam War was in progress, no more than six in 10 ever told Gallup's interviewers that war was a mistake."

The U.S. timetable for Afghanistan calls for the removal of nearly all troops by roughly this time next year, and that can't come fast enough for the vast majority of Americans. Just over half would rather see U.S. troops withdrawn earlier than December 2014. Only a quarter say that America should still have boots on the ground in Afghanistan after that deadline.

Fifty-seven percent say the conflict is going badly for the U.S. and only a third say America is winning the war in Afghanistan.

"Independents have a much gloomier view of the war in Afghanistan than Republicans or Democrats," Holland said. "That may be because a Republican president started the war and a Democratic president has continued it, so there may be some residual support among people who identify with either party."

Some 2,300 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan since the war began in the autumn of 2001. The U.S. is quickly drawing down its forces in Afghanistan. If a bilateral security agreement that would keep up to 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the end of 2014 isn't signed in the near future, the U.S. could withdrawal all forces from Afghanistan at the end of next year.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International between December 16 and 19, with 1,035 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

The discontent evident in the CNN poll is also seen in two other national surveys conducted earlier this month. Two-thirds of those questioned in an ABC News/Washington Post poll said the war has not been worth fighting, and an Associated Press/GfK survey showed 57% saying the U.S. did the wrong thing in going to war in Afghanistan.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: Afghanistan • CNN/ORC International poll • Polls
soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. Wade

    That is because Obama looses wars not wins them. He throws TONS of money and waste billions of dollars but refuses to actually FIGHT And win. Bush had a bad strategy for Iraq and should never have gone in in the first place but at least he was there to win. Obama just surrenders like he has done to the entire Middle east.

    December 30, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  2. Malory Archer

    tom l

    @Malory
    "David

    The Afghan war is the second most unpopular right after Obama's war on America with his policies.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    What "policies"? The one where President Obama forces you to put on your big boy pants and pay for your own medical care instead of sticking responsible Americans with your expenses, or the ones where he bends over backward to acquesce to EVERYTHING the right DEMANDS at the expense of working Americans, poor Americans, elderly Americans, American students, and American women?"

    =====

    So you want to make sure people are responsible for healthcare but when it comes to getting a job and living off of the govt for over a year with unemployment benefits is somehow not acting irresponsibly? The circles you people on the left talk in are amazing. And the more amazing part is you don't even realize it.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You gleaned THAT from my post? Really? REALLY???!!! But since YOU brought it up, perhaps you should study the issue a bit so you don't appear so ignorant: There is ONE job available for EVERY THREE people looking for a job. The MAJORITY of those on EXTENDED benefits are people who had professional careers and are older than 50, and therefore deemed "unemployable". Honestly, your hatred of your fellow Americans is disgusting.

    December 30, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  3. Malory Archer

    From the thread attached to the article about the GOP doner who passed away:

    smith

    Hmmm, not sure why this is on the ticker. I hope that no one will cheer this man`s passing because of his political stance. Will see.

    Borderless

    Before it begins, any Democrats celebrating the death of this man can just go ahead and turn in their liberal cards. We don't celebrate deaths.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Project much kiddies? A quick search of ANY message board pertaining to the death/illness of a Dem politician is met with and abundance of hateful comments spewed by YOUR ILK, while message boards pertaining to the death/illness of a rethug politician are devoid of responses, except for those like YOURS! Get over yourselves – you ilk OWNS both inappropriate comments AND the victim card!

    December 30, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. Anonymous

    This is one of the most justified wars we've ever been in. To think we would sit back and do nothing after they downed our towers would be seen as cowerdly and invite other attacks. People who are against this are cowards and want freedom without paying for it.

    December 30, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. rosethornne

    Enough already.

    December 30, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. benji1369

    It's a scam to protect the poppy fields.

    December 30, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. RDH

    Most americans realize that we are creating the terrorist threat at threat at this point with our violent actions.

    December 30, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. carol green

    What the news DOESN'T tell you is that troops are still being sent over there even though you see "all troops will be gone by the end of 2014". How do I know this? My grandson is over there and tells us of all the "new" troops that have come through his camp over the past several months. Don't believe a word they say....they'll be there until they are told to leave. We're just praying that he and all the others make it home safe.

    December 30, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. Jack 2

    The Iraq war was unneccessary and wrong but the Afghanistan war was and is justified

    December 30, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  10. VJ

    No need to conduct poll..

    December 30, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  11. Jack 2

    Afghanistan is one of the most justified wars the US has ever had. We lost 3,000 people and had a lot of damage.

    December 30, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. Anonymous

    "The circles you people on the left talk in are amazing. And the more amazing part is you don't even realize it."

    Here's a thought. Why don't you give off on the "you people on the left" talk and come up with responsible answers yourself. Not everyone on the right is fully employed. In fact, many on the right are facing unemployment much in the same manner those on the left face unemployment. Many on the right - shocking I know - are freeloaders as well. Once unemployed - remember we ARE talking of those who once WERE employed - money soon runs dry. What is your plans for those who are either because of age or monetary reasons unable relearn a new trade in a limited time frame? Many of these people have lost everything. Everything. Stop victimizing and categorizing those which you know nothing of.

    December 30, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. fuzzback

    And a grateful nation thanks its vets with cuts to their pensions. Meanwhile, the plutocrats whose interests they protect are not asked for a single additional dime.

    December 30, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  14. Jack 2

    We should've done nothing and eventually Islam folowers would've done it again

    December 30, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  15. Mark Gale

    If the previous administration had done there job and focused on the real 911 attackers this war would have been over a long time ago. We wasted our resources in Iraq and for what so Bush and Cheney and there oil buddies could make billions.
    It is sad that once again we screwed by the Bush Family. I sure hope you all are not dumb enough to elect Jeb.

    December 30, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  16. truth hurts but reality bites

    Malory Archer
    David
    The Afghan war is the second most unpopular right after Obama's war on America with his policies.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What "policies"? The one where President Obama forces you to put on your big boy pants and pay for your own medical care instead of sticking responsible Americans with your expenses, or the ones where he bends over backward to acquesce to EVERYTHING the right DEMANDS at the expense of working Americans, poor Americans, elderly Americans, American students, and American women?
    ========

    Poor, poor Malary.... you Do know that even the CBO says there will still be 20-30 MILLION uninsured people even WITH Obamacare, right? And where are all the savings to the American people is suddenly all of these people are forced to carry insurance? If they are paying for themselves now and not free riding as you call it, why did our insurance premiums go UP instead of DOWN? The middle class is getting the shaft anyway you look at it by Obamacare.

    December 30, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. Kpax

    Leaving? I don't think so not for a long ,long time.

    December 30, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  18. Jim

    Only Obama and Bush could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory but moronic moves.

    December 30, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  19. GarandFan

    Obviously the folks doing the polling never heard of Vietnam.

    As for Iraq and Afghanistan, most of the "protesting" died when King Barack the Magnificent ascended to the presidency.

    December 30, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  20. anonymous

    Obama, the cut and run President. He screwed up the withdrawal from Iraq after Bush did all the hard work and all he had to do was negotiate a status of forces agreement. He was so incompetent he couldn't even do that.

    Now he's going to screw up Afghanistan as well. Failure just seems to follow close behind him no matter what he does.

    December 30, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  21. Malory Archer

    truth hurts but reality bites

    Malory Archer
    David
    The Afghan war is the second most unpopular right after Obama's war on America with his policies.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What "policies"? The one where President Obama forces you to put on your big boy pants and pay for your own medical care instead of sticking responsible Americans with your expenses, or the ones where he bends over backward to acquesce to EVERYTHING the right DEMANDS at the expense of working Americans, poor Americans, elderly Americans, American students, and American women?
    ========

    Poor, poor Malary.... you Do know that even the CBO says there will still be 20-30 MILLION uninsured people even WITH Obamacare, right? And where are all the savings to the American people is suddenly all of these people are forced to carry insurance? If they are paying for themselves now and not free riding as you call it, why did our insurance premiums go UP instead of DOWN? The middle class is getting the shaft anyway you look at it by Obamacare.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Those who "lost" their health insurance have been given the option of keeping it for another year – IF their carrier DECIDES TO CONTINUE TO INSURE THEM. The savings is realized by those of us who will no longer be required to carry those who use the ER as their primary healthcare provider. Your premiums were increasing year over year for decades prior to the enactment of the ACA. Big difference now is your carrier will now be required to refund your $$$ if you don't use medical services, and that's the kind of "shaft" all Americans could use!

    December 30, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  22. Divdar

    Surprised people even know about this war anymore. There hasn't been too much reporting on it since a democrat took office.

    And, if some can remember, the declaration was against terrorism, Both the regime in Iraq and the one in Afghanistan were sponsors of terrorist activities. The US doesn't declare war against non-state groups (these are just gangs) so the resolution of force were issues against the existing governments. It you think going to Afghanistan for revenge was justified, but freeing a people from an evil dictator is not, you may want to reevaluate some.

    December 30, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. tom l

    @Anon
    ""The circles you people on the left talk in are amazing. And the more amazing part is you don't even realize it."

    Here's a thought. Why don't you give off on the "you people on the left" talk and come up with responsible answers yourself. Not everyone on the right is fully employed. In fact, many on the right are facing unemployment much in the same manner those on the left face unemployment. Many on the right – shocking I know – are freeloaders as well. Once unemployed – remember we ARE talking of those who once WERE employed – money soon runs dry. What is your plans for those who are either because of age or monetary reasons unable relearn a new trade in a limited time frame? Many of these people have lost everything. Everything. Stop victimizing and categorizing those which you know nothing of."

    ======

    I am keenly aware that people on both sides of the political spectrum are on unemployment. When did I ever say that was not to be the case. I was merely responding to this comment:

    "The one where President Obama forces you to put on your big boy pants and pay for your own medical care instead of sticking responsible Americans with your expenses"

    So now all of the sudden she talks about healthcare being important because she doesn't want to pay for other people's expenses that they rack up but has no concern for welfare, food stamps and long term unemployment.

    And for the record, I was unemployed and in my 40's. You know what hampered me MOST from getting a job and did the least to help me find a new job? Unemployment benefits.

    December 30, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  24. Tampa Tim

    Truth???? – I can find no such information from the CBO. Are you sure that is not from the right wingnut reports?

    December 30, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  25. Randy, San Francisco

    Lessons learned from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars: None. History continues to repeat itself.

    December 30, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9