December 6th, 2009
12:46 PM ET
6 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. Right wingnuts are as dumb as a woonsocket

    Why is it that the right wingnuts are unwilling to accept the fact that the ditherer in chief (Bush) and his notorious sidekick (Darth) were the ones who dropped the ball in Afghanistan. They also left the 20,000 additional troop request for Afghanistan unfilled for 8 months, leaving Obama to fill it last March.

    I do blame the previous administration for their ineptness, but, we knew that before they were elected. I have a a better feeling, now that we finally have a strategy and an exit plan.

    December 6, 2009 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  2. Right wingnuts are as dumb as a woonsocket

    Palin supporters (birthers) will say this is a poll from state run media and doesn't count. Too bad they cannot except the fact that there is only real media, who report the news and does fact checking, and of course, extreme media (Fox) who makes up crap, repeats it enough until wingnuts believe it.

    I am convinced that most people prefer real news to Rupert's "shag book."

    December 6, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  3. nate

    If the left is mad at you and the right is mad at you, you must be doing something right.

    December 6, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  4. Tammy

    In the eyes of the losers, the President can't to anything right. Whether it's foreign policy, education (imagine, telling kids to study and stay in school and be responsible! how dare he say such a thing), receptions ("wasting" money on diplomatic trips and receptions) - isn't that part of the job?

    December 6, 2009 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  5. Ingrid Velatore

    These polls are as credible as the divisive newspapers.

    December 6, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  6. Sam

    "Americans agreeing with Obama on Afghanistan" is just agreeing to do the right thing, which is very unusual for this administration on anything but Chicago politics and paying back the unions for the election.

    December 6, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  7. Dave G

    nate says: "If the left is mad at you and the right is mad at you, you must be doing something right."

    Yes, well said.

    December 6, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  8. Woonsocket

    When we have a commander in chief dedicated to Jihad and an attorney general dedicated to destroy the justice system there isn't much else to do than to wait for the 2010 elections to clean out that rats nest. And then in 2012 boot the Jihadists in Chief out of the White House. By the way, has anyone at CNN see Barry Obama's college grades, or his medical history, or anyother record of his life ?

    December 6, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  9. Jim from New York

    After a series of meetings, the best minds in Washington, DC came up with this strategy, endorsed/approved by the smartest guy in the room. Whether you agree our troops should be on the ground or not (and I don't), you have to give it to the system we have in place. Freely elected, the President spoke repeatedly during the campaign that we had to take action in Afghanistan and the region. I have full faith in President Obama's intellect, emotional strength and vision to see this through. He will "allow" outreaching to the Taliban, and the more moderate among them will lead to a split in their group, etc., etc. It's history. Personally, I think we should 'drone' the crap out of them and leave our troops out of it....

    December 6, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  10. Woonsocket

    CNN polls are crafted to support Obama. Time and time again when you look at the underlying samples they are usually 2 to 1 Democrat. And CNN does not say ooops or sorry about that. Total silence. The fact that FOX has 9 out of 10 of the most highly rated cable news and opinion shows shows that CNN as screwed its self royally.

    December 6, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  11. stlfox

    @nate: Amen brother.

    Obama's polls are down; both parties are resistant to support him on his *original* health-care plan; and both parties have issues with his stimulus methodology. Sounds like both sides don't enjoy having their financial status-quo interrupted.

    Not to mention the fact that he's booted all the registered lobbyists off the advisory boards. Whoo wee!

    December 6, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  12. Lynne

    How can you argue with the talent, intelligence, patriotism and experience that President Obama brought to the table to reach this decision. Clinton, Biden, Gates, McCrystal and Jones are all on board.

    The difficulty lies in the Republicans and the let's create division and controversy driven media trying to attack the President purely for political reasons when many of the people now out explaining to the media the meaning of "BEGIN to draw down troops in July 2011" are the very people they were praising while the decsion was being made. Americans are smarter than that and will formulate their opinions as they see results.

    The republicans want to criticize the President for not solving all the domestic problems they created in less than a year and now criticize him for not taking long enough in Afghanistan. What a bunch of hypocrites they are!!

    December 6, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. Rich

    Well, Whoooope do! CNN is using all its resources to prop up Obama, just as his poll numbers are falling below 50 percent.
    Its just like the reports that the country has reached a 10 % unemployment rate, instead of 10.2 %, and he is praised for that! All poll numbers can be twisted to reflect the reader's bias.

    December 6, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  14. Woonsocket

    Hey right wing – Process this. Abstracts of legal documents don't reveal everything about that legal document. Mr. Obama doesn't want to release his birth certificate because it shows his race as WHITE.

    December 6, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  15. scott p.

    Hi All, I must be in the 40% that doesn't agree. We should withdraw all troops from the middle east tomorrow and let Muslims live in their own lands the way they want to. The only reason 9/11 happened is because Bush I sent troops to Saudi Arabia to occupy their holy lands during the Kuwait conflct. The truth hurts and Obama is not ready to face it. Nor the 60% of moral americans either! These useless draining imperial wars have to end. I know that Wall Street, Weapons manufacturers and Military contractors are having a financial field day on other people's misery but I say enough.

    December 6, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  16. stlfox

    @Sam: Yeah, kinda like how it was unusual for the last administration to do anything right other than get Halliburton, Defense Contractors, and Big Oil obscenely rich.

    You're completely naive if you think *every* politician who makes the presidency doesn't have to "pay the piper" who helped get him/her there.

    The American people will lose to big business *every* *single* *time*.

    December 6, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  17. Patti

    woonsocket – what planet are you from? I am embarrassed for you!

    December 6, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  18. NancyLV

    I agree there needs to be more troops sent in if nothing else to help the troops already there that are so burnt because they been over there 2-3 times, if they were not going to send more then bring our guys home because they were just sitting there sitting ducks. I don't believe however that Obama should have given a redrawl date on TV now the Taliban Al-Queda are writing this date down on their calendar, this should have been something that he talked about to his generals not the public I believe he did this to appease his political base that yes we are sending more troops but yes we are also withdrawing. I also don't believe that we will be out of there when he says it will be much longer, hell it will probably take 18 months to get everyone over there.

    December 6, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  19. Woonsocket

    patti dearest – live your little Obamist fantasy. Mr. Obama grew up in a Islamic household in Indonesia. Did you know that ?

    December 6, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  20. Oriol

    The plan is simply genious. I mean, everyone is screaming at the plan to withdraw troops by July 2011 because they're afraid that the enemy will hide until then. Now, my question these retards is What's wrong with that? With 18 months off peach in Afghan, can you imagine the amount of work our Soldiers Would get done over there? By the time 18 months come, the Afghan military would be able to take over the fight while our brave young men and women come back home safe. On the other hand, If they want to fight, the additional 30,000 troops that are going over there will most certainly blast them away.

    Obama 2012

    December 6, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  21. stlfox

    @Woonsocket: The President was freely elected by a majority of the U.S. population and on day one in Office inherited nothing less than a complete disaster left by the last "tenant" of the White House. You worry about solutions he's implementing before we can even see what their results will be but you make no criticism of how "We the people" got into the mess that the current administration is trying to resolve.

    If you voted for Bush, man-up and take some responsibility. Believe me, if in 3 more years we're in worse shape as a *direct* result of Obama's policies then I'll be the first one to say: "Time for someone new to give it a try."

    December 6, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  22. Terry from West Texas

    If Obama had announced a withdrawal from Afghanistan, America's Conservatives would have opposed his decision.

    If Obama had announced no change in his Afghanistan policy, America's Conservatives would have opposed his decision.

    If Obama had announced an increase in troop strength in any way different from the policy he did announce, America's Conservatives would have opposed his decision.

    If Obama had announced that he had just purchased a pair of green pajamas, America's Conservatives would have opposed his decision.

    America's Conservative leadership doesn't give a crap about America. Their policy is to oppose anything and everything Obama does without regard to whether it is good or bad for the nation.

    America's Conservo-zombies will support America's Conservative leadership not matter what.

    December 6, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  23. Indy

    Woonsocket, Kind of of a lonely life with you and Palin believing Obama is nothin but a conspiracy. If you stop the hallucinations you will realize that this is the right thing to do and it does not matter what grades Obama got in school, it is still the right thing to do. Your main boy, Bush and Cheney terrorized Americans far too long and their strategies will not be allowed back in the Whitehouse in 2012.Why not look at the truth and support the troops, because of Bush and Cheney going to Iraq for personal reasons and financial gains is why this strategy is needed.That is a fact and not an illusion like yours and Palins and again it remains true no matter waht Obamas school grades were in the PAST

    December 6, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  24. Woonsocket

    Patti and right wing – Fact after fact after fact reveals that Mr. Obama does not have the best interests of the United States at heart. His willingness to destroy the economy and ignore his military advisors pretty much puts an exclamation mark on his hatred of America. Unless someone can show me facts to the contrary, I can only believe that before the end of 2012 he, or some of his close poltical advisors, will be charged withe high crimes against the republic.

    December 6, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  25. Chicago Mob

    Our liar-in-chief is only sending in more troops to save his political butt. His heart is absolutely not in this one. He would much rather be appologizing for something than commit to a winning strategy. In time he will turn this into an opportunity for his buddies on the left to disgrace America. CNN and the lame stream media to provide cover.

    December 6, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
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