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 Just over half would rather see U.S. troops withdrawn earlier than December 2014.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. Silence DoGood

    " Obama's war on America "
    Seriously? People are saying this with a straight face. It is the country of which he is chief executive. And I suppose the Pope has a war on Catholics and the CEO of McDonalds has a war on McDonalds and Putin has a War on Russia. Sounds pretty stupid right?

    December 30, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. Professor Roscow

    I've been saying for the last year that Obama is much worst than Richard Nixon. And now I am right.

    December 30, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. ThinkAgain

    If GW Bush had made it a priority to take out Osama bin Laden and diminish as much as possible al Qaeda – instead of not caring about it because, hey! we need an enemy to justify all the billions spent on independent military contractors – maybe we wouldn't still be in Afghanistan.

    December 30, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. ThinkAgain

    @Professor Roscow: "I've been saying for the last year that Obama is much worst than Richard Nixon. And now I am right."

    Your boy Bush started this war with absolutely NO PLAN for getting rid of bin Laden or al Qaeda. President Obama is cleaning up his mess – AGAIN!

    December 30, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  5. ThinkAgain

    Only repubs like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, would go into Afghanistan thinking they could conquer and control it. Rice was a top advisor and a supposed expert on Russia and the Cold War – why is it that no one in that administration noticed that the U.S.S.R. never succeeded in that fool's errand?

    We should have gone in, taken out bin Laden and as much of al Qaeda as possible and then gotten the hell out. But trust a bunch of chickenhawks lead by an 18-month AWOL dry alcoholic to mess things up.

    I swear, everything the Bush administration touched turned to bull pucky.

    December 30, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. g

    maybe bush jr should have another sit down at his ranch with the taliban and finded out what went wroung

    December 30, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. Malory Archer

    Professor Roscow

    I've been saying for the last year that Obama is much worst than Richard Nixon. And now I am right.

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

    Examples please?

    December 30, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. Marcus (from...?)

    To all talking about the Nam... the impact of that war on the US is/was way much bigger than any other war in history, but... this is a poll, a 'popularity' contest of sorts, so of course the most fresh one ends up starting with an 'advantage' (and the fact that it was so mismanaged between 2004-2007, with the obvious bad results, only helps its 'popularity').

    December 30, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    tom I

    "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."
    =========================================================

    Seriously? This is your answer: "I once was ... blah, blah, blah". I would suggest even you would admit your unemployment benefits kept you fed. It is never a good idea to pretend to be what you are not; you end up giving away little clues each time you try thus putting doubt on all your comments.

    December 30, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. Silence DoGood

    @Malory Archer
    Professor Roscow

    I've been saying for the last year that Obama is much worst than Richard Nixon. And now I am right.

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

    Examples please?
    ---------–
    Conservative extremists do not need examples or proof or logic. It was said right in the post: "I am right". That justifies their politics, religion, (im)morality. If they heard RusHannity say it with passion, "it is right".
    Apologies to that old Bogey movie "Examples, what examples? We don't need no stickin' examples!"

    December 30, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  11. keltic1

    “The war in Afghanistan is "fundamental to the defense of our people," President Obama said Monday, addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars conference in Phoenix, Ariz. - but the fight will not be easy.” Obama August 17, 2009, CBS news.
    or just another lie?

    December 30, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. GODZILLA1

    And for this we can all say 'THANK YOU SHRUB."

    December 30, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. sw

    Once again, thank you George Bush for being the worst president in US history.

    December 30, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. rs

    tom l
    Is this the same war that President Obama has committed out troops to in perpetuity that the hardcore left is utterly silent about?
    __________
    Grow up Tom- Obama didn't start this war Bush and the idiot GOP did. He did get bin Laden however- something Mr. Bush "just didn't care about". Yes, it is a negotiated completion, and yes, Afghanistan will revert to the mess it was before the war- but short of making it a 51st state (Texas,East?) there isn't a fix for that.
    In other words sir, stop whining if you don't have a solution.

    December 30, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  15. truth hurts but reality bites

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

    You must not know how to use the Google then.... Search for "congressional budget office obamacare uninsured" and look at the lines labeled:

    Uninsured Under the Affordable Care Act
    Number of Uninsured Nonelderly Peopled

    And when you do, please return here and apologize for your ineptness and insult.

    December 30, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  16. The Light

    Professor Roscow says:December 30, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 amI’ve been saying for the last year that Obama is much worst than Richard Nixon. And now I am right.

    Professor Roscow needs to learn to speak and write the English language before he tries using it again on the Internet.

    December 30, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. John

    "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.", Choosing war to save face for your party affiliation. That says it all about what is wrong in America.

    December 30, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  18. john

    The 20ish percent either misread the question or they are watching foxnews right now

    December 30, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  19. rs

    BrianMemphis
    And more have died under Obama's leadership than Bush. If Bush is to be blamed, let's see condemnation for the current president.
    _____________
    BM- Under Mr. Bush's watch in Iraq, more American service personnel died, tens of thousands were crippled, 125,000 innocent Iraqis were killed, and 2 million Iraqis became refugees. No one touches that record, certainly not the President.

    December 30, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  20. tom l

    "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."
    =========================================================

    Seriously? This is your answer: "I once was ... blah, blah, blah". I would suggest even you would admit your unemployment benefits kept you fed. It is never a good idea to pretend to be what you are not; you end up giving away little clues each time you try thus putting doubt on all your comments.

    =======

    Are you trying to say that I wasn't unemployed? I am telling you that while it might have helped for a period in time, as the weeks wore on it hindered me more than it helped. I speak from experience. Just like an alcoholic who speaks about the evils of too much alcohol, I can speak to the evils of too much unemployment and how it affected me.

    December 30, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. Jim

    Viet Nam was vastly more unpopular... because the military draft was still in place, and 18 year-olds were rioting in the streets (or moving to Canada) to avoid military service. The fact that unknown "volunteers" are risking their lives in Afghanistan - rather than every 18 year-old in America - makes it an infinitely less controversial war. Whether members of the anti-war movement in the 1960s-70s truly objected to the Viet Nam War, or were just afraid of military service, is now a moot point: millions of South Vietnamese were butchered or died in "reeducation camps" because the U.S. bailed on an ally who trusted us.

    December 30, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. rs

    Brian from DC
    Another gift that keeps giving from George W. Bush! Thank goodness that Mitt Romney isn't President or we'd be at war with Iran now too.
    ____________
    And Libya and Syria and maybe even North Korea. Not that any or the little Romneys would be fighting...

    December 30, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  23. truth hurts but reality bites

    Malory Archer
    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!
    --

    Malory, my dear, your response makes no sense. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the people having their policies cancelled so I do not know why you bring that into the discussion.

    Again, if all of these free riders were costing us all huge sums of money in our premiums where is the equivalent huge reduction in premiums now because they have all been forced to buy insurance? That was what the left used to justifiy this massive healthcare takeover by the government. Not only are we not seeing any savings and a drop in insurance rates, we are seeing LARGE INCREASES. Mine went up 19% over last year. Sorry, but the middle class has been scammed once again with these left wing claims of helping the middle class. We are getting screwed over royally by Obamacare. And that is a FACT.

    December 30, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. smith

    @Malory Archer-I really don`t care what party someone is from. The point of my comment was that I would like to think no one would cheer a political donor`s passing because of his or her`s political stance. I never accused dems of doing that. Get a grip.

    December 30, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  25. Sol Asylum

    I seem to remember the "smartest President we've ever had", along with all of his demoncrat cronies, assuring us that the war in Afghanistan was the right war. I guess all of that rhetoric (along with much else) has been shoved down the old memory hole. Quite typical I might add.

    December 30, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9