December 6th, 2009
12:46 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans mostly agree with Obama on Afghanistan


Americans agree with the Afghanistan policy Barack Obama announced on Tuesday night at West Point, according to a new national poll out Sunday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Washington (CNN) - Americans agree with the Afghanistan policy Barack Obama announced on Tuesday night at West Point in large measure because they agree with the arguments the president made in that speech, according to a new national poll.

In his prime time address at the U.S. Military Academy, where Obama spelled out his decision to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to the war, the president stressed that America's safety and security are at stake in Afghanistan. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey released Sunday morning indicates 64 percent of Americans agree with the president, with one in three saying the country's safety and security is not at stake in Afghanistan. According to the poll, 63 percent of people questioned also agree with Obama that the U.S. action in Afghanistan is morally justified.

Full results (pdf)

"That's one major way that Afghanistan is different from Iraq in the public's mind," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "At the time of the Iraq surge in 2007, most Americans questioned whether that war was justified."

The president met with military and civilian advisers for three months before announcing his Afghanistan decision. Obama said he needed that time to review the options available. Did he take too long to decide? Fifty-six percent say no, with 43 percent feeling three months was not necessary.

But Obama also said that his objectives in Afghanistan included preventing terrorists from re-establishing a base of operations in that country and establish a stable government that the terrorists will not be able to overthrow. The poll indicates less than four in ten believe that those goals will be reached.

"As a result, nearly six in ten say defeat is possible, but an equal number also say victory is possible. Most Americans think a stalemate is the likeliest outcome, something that may make an exit strategy harder to implement if that prediction comes true," adds Holland.

Forty-two percent of people questioned in the poll say they watched the president's Tuesday night address on Afghanistan. Of those who viewed the speech, 34 percent say it makes them more likely to support Obama's polices on Afghanistan, 16 percent said the address makes them less likely to back Obama's strategy, and 50 percent said it had no effect.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey was conducted Wednesday and Thursday, following the president's Tuesday night speech, with 1,041 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The poll's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: Afghanistan • CNN poll • Popular Posts
soundoff (232 Responses)
  1. Robert

    "Sending more troops is the only correct path. If we left, we'd be attacked again. The HUGE mistake Amateur Boy made was announcing a date to leave. You don't win a war by announcing a date you'll give up and go home. Anyone who was a fit Commander-in-Chief would know that."

    Someone named Mike wrote this nonsense. Well, Mike.... the generals have tesitifed that the targeted withdrawl date is a valuable part of this new policy. You see Mike, it incentivisez the Afghans to step up their efforts to take over their own country.

    Nobody announced a date where we'd give up and go home. Rather the president set the withdrawl date as a goal and said it would only happen if the conditions on the ground warranted it.

    Did you miss all that????

    December 6, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  2. Stephen

    Oh my goodness.

    People like Woonsocket, Beck, Limbaugh, and Palin, keep on hating instead of discussing anything civilly. They're the ones who're trying to make this great nation a laughingstock.

    Quit spewing hate and conspiracy theories and try...just TRY, once at come to the table for a normal, adult, discussion of the issues.

    December 6, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. mavcal

    These Americans must be the same sheep that voted for Obama and can't own up to the reality that he is an ineffectual leader, more master of ceremonies than commaner-in-chief. Anyone with any sense could see that Obama was pressured into his so-callled "decision" by the military forces and that at best he is loaded with ambivalance about continuting a war that should have never started to begin with. And now we have the 2010 predictions coming from John Hougey who states that Obama will regret the day he put more troops into Afghanistan, that the decision was ill-fated and that the economy will take another downturn before 2010 is up. Plus, I really don't believe anything CNN reports anymore – they are still so biased.

    December 6, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. Jim in Florida

    "That's one major way that Afghanistan is different from Iraq in the public's mind," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "At the time of the Iraq surge in 2007, most Americans questioned whether that war was justified."

    Keating, then again, in 2007 the people had the media hammering a message that the war in Iraq wasn't justified, hammering that message each and every day from Day 1 of the war.

    Along comes Obama – takes him several months to decide he is sending 30k troops to Afghanistan – Obama doesn't listen to the General he selected to lead the war effort – and suddenly the war in Afghanistan is golden.

    The media drumbeat determines how most polled Americans respond to the polls – most do not have a clue what is at stake in that part of the world – it is all much bigger than Afghanistan, which is a small part of the overall war on terror (it's a war on terror regardless of the fact that Obama and his media corps, CNN included, do not want to call it a war on terror).

    We've investigated the wad-wastes who rashed Obama's party – it's about high time that Obama ibnstruct his lap dogs in the House to investigate Fort Hood.

    Remember Fort Hood?

    Anyone in the media remember?

    December 6, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  5. Perusing-through


    It is now clear Bush & Darth (Cheney) sent the minimum number of troops and gear to Afghanistan because they had plans to use the nation's limited resources in a pre-emptive war with Iraq.

    Nearly 7-years after Bush & Darth redirected valuable resources desperately needed in Afghanistan over to Iraq, and after 4,400+ dead and 45,000 wounded U.S. servicemen; plus 400,000 killed Iraqi citizens with 4-million displaced Iraqis; Darth Cheney has the nerve to accuse President Obama of dithering. Darth is a lying hypocrite.

    December 6, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  6. Bill

    I forget to mention I'm xenophobic and it really surfaces in my political assumptions. I declare immigrants are taking all of our jobs. Yet I voted for Bush who outsourced those jobs to other countries. I want Immigration reform because I'm xenophobic. Yet I voted for Bush who enjoys cheap labor for Coporate America from immigrants. I guess I'm stuck in contradiction between my racial values and ineptitude about economics. Please help me..........

    December 6, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. Independent

    i would give woosocket some credit..he did back his thoughts with facts..just because someone doesnt WANT to believe it doesnt make it untrue...i will admit too that i am tired of the "bush, bush, bush" what point does this administration take on its responsiblity...oh thats right..when its good news..i didnt like bush when he was in office..couldnt stand some of his positions ...but geez im starting to respect him more now

    December 6, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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