September 1st, 2009
02:30 PM ET
11 years ago

CNN Poll: Afghanistan War opposition at all-time high

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="Opposition to the war in Afghanistan is at an all-time high."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Opposition to the war in Afghanistan is at an all-time high in a new national poll.

Fifty-seven percent of Americans questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday say they oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan, with 42 percent supporting the military mission. The percentage of those in opposition to the war is up 11 points since April, and is the highest ever in CNN polling since the launch of the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan soon after the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

The poll indicates that opposition to the war is coming mainly from Democrats and independents.

"Fifty-seven percent of independents and nearly three-quarters of Democrats oppose the war. Seven in 10 Republicans support what the U.S. is doing in Afghanistan," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Democrats mildly opposed the war in April while independents and Republicans favored it. But opposition has grown 18 points among Democrats and 10 points among independents."

The poll suggests that nearly six in 10 think the U.S. can win the conflict in Afghanistan, but only 35 percent questioned in the survey say that American is currently winning the war.

"The public doesn't see Afghanistan as a lost cause," Holland says. "But there may be a lot of Americans who question whether a victory in Afghanistan is worth the cost."

The poll's release comes after the two deadliest months for the U.S. military in Afghanistan. In August, 48 U.S troops were killed in the fighting, surpassing the previous high of 45 the month before. On Monday, the top American commander in Afghanistan said in a statement that success in the conflict is achievable if the United States revises its strategy. That statement came as Gen. Stanley McChrystal submitted a long-awaited report on the state of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.

"The situation in Afghanistan is serious, but success is achievable and demands a revised implementation strategy, commitment and resolve, and increased unity of effort," McChrystal said in the statement.

President Barack Obama has called Afghanistan a "war of necessity" and has placed a great emphasis on defeating the Taliban and al Qaeda militants operating there and in Pakistan.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Friday through Monday, with 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Full results

Filed under: Afghanistan • Popular Posts
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Dave

    Wow... I was highly opposed to the Iraq War but would defend the one in Afghanistan. I am surprised so many think badly of it now.

    September 1, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. center left

    Due to the out right negelect of the Bush Administation for last 8 years has left President Obama a big mess. We will stay as long as the GOP is supporting this war and shove the victory down their thoats.

    September 1, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  3. John, Brooklyn, New York

    Its unfortunate that the American public is so short sighted to remember that 1) the Iraq war was fabricated on mis-information and therefore we should get out and 2) that the Afghanistan war was not fabricated and IS where terrorists who attack America have consistently been headquartered and trained.

    If there EVER was a justification to be in a country with our military, its Afghanistan.

    September 1, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. GGG

    God Bless our soldiers...Thankyou for all that you do!!! I am a wife and Mother of two proud men in service . Obama step up to the plate and be a leader for once!!!! Holder you should be ashamed of you self!!!

    September 1, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. zippy

    you libs wantt to cut an run from afganastan to. just like irak. we have too stop the muslims from killing more of our inocent people' you libs are wimps

    September 1, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  6. Right Leaning Independent

    Of course it has a high opposition. Americans want fast clean wars and most liberals do not have the stomach it takes to win tough wars. They are the same people that would take a punch to the nose and thank their attacker rather than fighting back! This war is not pretty but it is necessary in order to prevent other groups from trying to deliver a 9-11 punch to our noses! This is an all volunteer force and these brave young men are doing an awesome job and I support them 100%!!

    September 1, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. carlo

    I thought we wanted to catch bin Laden? I thought this was the right war to fight?

    What is wrong with this country? We have no patience, we are fickle, we want it our way or the highway, and we have no compassion for anyone.

    Pres. Obama is getting it from the left and the right, which means he's probably just where he needs to be.

    September 1, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. S M R

    This war would be over if the Bush Administration would have strenthened our forces in Afghanistan instead of Invading a NO WMD WAR in Iraq. Now our forces are spread thin and our Country is in a near financial ruin. I SAY NO MORE REPUBLICAN RULE until our Country can rise again under DEMOCRATIC POLICIES. Obama 2012, Clinton 2016, 2020.

    September 1, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. victim of republican greed

    We went to Afghanistan as that was the country that harbored the terrorists who attacked us on 9-11. We went to Iraq as a matter of choice. It just seems that Pakistan has been more active and we are eliminating a lot of terrorist leaders.

    Where are the hawks who also wanted to start a war in Iran?

    September 1, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. Peggy -TX

    Although I personally have difficulty accepting that the US must fighting in any war, President Obama has my complete trust and, if, from his vantage point, he believes that we must continue this war, even ratchet it up, then I fully support the effort.

    All truly god-loving ,patriotic Americans are standing firmly behind our President in the continued war on terrorism.

    September 1, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. Dennis

    The reason some people are turning against the war may be solely that the Government is for that war. When you carry the kind of debt the US does, then create a deficit so large–people take notice. Five hundred million USD in interest? Yet, if we get Afghanistan wrong, we put ourselves in jeopardy from terrorist attack. We've already lost the war on drugs. We can't seem to secure the borders. They're trying to take away Medicare Benefits while allegedly trying to resolve and alleged healthcare crisis–and they're for the war in Afghanistan? I get the poll results, but if we leave Afghanistan in a shambles, the Drug Lord Talibani's will again come to power. That's just unacceptable.

    September 1, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Jacques

    When will Obama bring all of the troops home? When will Congress cut off funding for this awful war? It may have been started by Bush, but what is Obama and the Democrats in Congress doing to end it?

    September 1, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  13. Rich (Charleston, SC)

    Of course the public is turning against the war in Afghanistan. Obama doesn't want to be there and only politicked for it during the campaign so he could not be branded on being soft on the “war on terror”. Now that he is President, he doesn't make a case for being there except periodic references, just so be can keep the appearance of being security minded. His true feelings is he doesn't care about being there and he doesn’t have a strong enough character to stand up for what needs to be done, but is so political in everything he does that he will let the issue just die a natural death. Unfortunately, the people of this country got what they deserve ... a weak, political, socialist President that sold them a bill of goods and is slowly chipping away at our constitutional rights. And you thought Bush was bad? … wake up people!

    September 1, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  14. Stuffit

    On the bright side, a poll of Europeans shows that they support the war more now than ever because Obama has revived our standing in the world.

    September 1, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. Joe

    8 years later, Bush blew every opportunity. Military, International, Domestic. Utter moron. We will struggle for 2 years and retreat, claiming victory.

    September 1, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. Spirit of America

    On this historic occasion, the day WWII broke out 70 years ago, it is a good time to end this war and bring all foreign troops out of Afghanistan. Otherwise just end up repeated the mistakes of the past.

    September 1, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  17. Spirit of America

    On this historic occasion, the day WWII broke out 70 years ago, it is a good time to end this war and bring all foreign troops out of Afghanistan. Otherwise we just end up repeatint the bloody mistakes of the past.

    September 1, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  18. valwayne

    What is Obama doing? I support his efforts in Afghanistan. it would be a disaster of major proportions if it falls back to the Taliban. I support a surge if that's what he is doing! However, I don't really understand what his strategy to win in Afghanistan is?

    September 1, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  19. Stanley Perilman

    Please bring our troops home from all foreign lands. Let them fight their own battles. We have nothing to gain except the poppy farms for the drug lords.

    September 1, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  20. Pepou

    WE have nothing to do in Afghanistan. And I support President Obama but not on this one.

    September 1, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  21. CMoore

    Honestly, regardless of where the war is people are going to oppose it. I oppose war myself, but at least this time we are fighting againist something that has affected us. Instead of trying to control another country, and tell them what is right or wrong. We are now focusing on home and defending ourselves! Anything Obama does is going to be wrong to most ppl on the right! So most of these polls are a joke.

    September 1, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  22. Parker

    How many unsucessful wars are we willing to wage? This fight is between the warlords and the Taliban. That is if there is any difference between those two factions. This country cannot be chqnged by outsiders. When a civil war is unavoidable, outside forces merely delay, not prevent the war. Pull all our troops from both Afghanistan and Iraq. Enough is enough. Let these people sort it out for themselves.

    September 1, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. keith brown

    The Democrats who want out of Afghanistan must be taking their lead from polls. That's their perrogative.
    However wasn't it just a couple of months ago that the Taliban was nearing Islamabad and Pakistan's nuclear installations?
    Maybe being a law-maker also requires making far-sighted decisions and not just reacting to opinion research.

    September 1, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. Mississippi Mike

    Obama tried to dodge the unpopularity of the Iraq war by focusing on Afghanistan for some reason. If he had actually done his job as a senator and learned about the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan he would have gotten behind finishing the job in Iraq and pulling out of Afghanistan. We'd all but won in Iraq when Obama took office, we will never see the same level of success in Afghanistan. The terrain is too difficult, the Taliban is too strong and the government is too weak.

    September 1, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. RealityKing

    What exactly were the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey questions? And just how many focus groups did your progressively liberal director have to do before getting the answers he wanted??

    September 1, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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