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. Woonsocket

    stlfox – I think the confession that we should see here today is which amongst actually voted for the Obama. I for one did not. I did not have a titallation within me that drove me to worship him, as apparently patti and right wing do.

    December 6, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  2. Mark B


    This shows one thing. America is NOT a liberal country. Contrary to what all the left is saying about Obama, and all his policies. When Obama DOES do something that leans away from the left point of view, it shows in polls and commentaries.

    His left sided programs and attitudes with the health care and economy issues all show poor support with amercian voters, but yet this move with troop support shows good polls.

    Read between the lines lefties,,,, your not the majority by a long shot.

    I did not vote for Obama, but I will say, he did this one half right. He should have NEVER put a date on withdrawl. But, he did, so now we must live with it. But you will see how the enemy will just hide in thier caves for a year or so, and come back out when we are gone.

    My personal opinion, the extra troops may work. But taking a lesson from Hiroshima would have been better. They killed thousand of innocent people on 9-11. I say we pay back the debt,
    Dont tread on me. Its as simple as that.

    December 6, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  3. mary

    The president's decision to extend troops is correct but all that is lost when the president played partisan politics and set a withdrawl timeline. Possibly the most unwise, irresponsible and unpresidential call i have ever witnessed. He could have kept the intention under-wrapped. Publicly announcing it will allow the talibans and al queda to push harder, dig their heals into the country deeper and makes the whole mission harder to achieve. All this so that the president can play politics. This decision will haunt Obama as it will back-fire on him but more importantly, it will haunt the US, the military and the nation.

    December 6, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  4. Woonsocket

    stlfox – the Constituion of the U.S. (sorry to use that term, I know it offends you Obamists) has a mechanism that allows for the removal of a President. We don't have to wait until 2012.

    December 6, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  5. Indy

    Woonsocket, Bragging about Fox news tells us you are a cult memeber of Fox news, and live for lies and conspiricay theories. By the way the reason there is more Dem like comments is because there are far many more educated people on here then your kind of people. Most educated people know hopw to use a computer, your freinds are all at target practice

    December 6, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. stlfox

    @Woonsocket: The country is facing serious problems and you're worried about a "birth certificate"?? Where the hell are your priorities man?

    You don't throw a new quarterback into a game you're *already losing* and waste a time-out to ask why the team is drinking red Gatorade instead of orange. Get your head in the game man!

    The country is deciding on major issues like healthcare reform, war, environmental regulation and economic recovery and you're worried about somebody's paperwork after they're already in the game?? That's pathetic.

    December 6, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. Richie

    Perhaps that ("most Americans questioned whether that war was justified") is the difference between Iraq and Afghanistan. But, I think it is that we know we can trust big O. He'll say what he's doing and do what he's saying. He is not a pathological liar like Bush/Cheney.

    December 6, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  8. Holly

    Most Americans, the ones with any type of brain at all, would mostly agree with President Obama on everything. It's the ones who are sooo easily fooled by Republican propaganda who fall for anything that is put in front of them.

    December 6, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  9. MARK

    It was George W. and his Republican thugs who put us where we are today. President Obama was left a heap of messes from the past administration.

    December 6, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  10. Why cant the antichrist be a woman

    I laugh at the Ron Paul nitwit on here everyday.

    December 6, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  11. Stu

    We have not fought to win a war since WWII. We still insist on publishing deadlines, fighting politically-correct, and playing nice. The objective of war is to win. Sadly, this nation has no resolve and has turned into a nation of spoiled cry-babies. Our enemies measure our resolve and it encourages them. Obama, showing his total lack of military ability (not to mention leadership), erred greatly in giving a three year deadline (coincidental to his reelection bid). Just like the North Vietnamese and VC in Viet Nam, when Nixon announced when the bombing in the north would end, they just had to hold on a little longer and they did. The Taliban will do the same.

    December 6, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  12. Willow

    The Man with a Plan, and obviously it is the right plan for the American people who have been dooped previously by Bush & Co.....

    Taking back the nation for the people, good for Obama!

    December 6, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  13. Right wingnuts are as dumb as a woonsocket

    Woonsocket-How can you be so anti American? We can overlook that you are uninformed, but you really need to give up being against the U.S.

    December 6, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  14. Dan Felshin

    It's not really an Afghan policy, it is an IRAN POLICY. If we withdraw from Afghanistan, then Iran will take that as giving free rein to do anything they want.

    December 6, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  15. Willow

    To: Right wingnuts are as dumb as a woonsocket

    "Denail" is not a river in Egypt but rather a state of mind occupied by zealots, right wing nutjobs and others of the same genetic predisposition who floated up from the shallow end of the gene pool....

    December 6, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  16. Fenney Derden

    If you believe Pelosi, Reid, Spector, Shumer, Dodd, et al, then I have a bridge to sell you, it's currently being used as the Golden Gate in California bay, but, hey, I have as much right to sell it, as the demos have to shove the Obamacare plan down our throats.

    December 6, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  17. Right wingnuts are as dumb as a woonsocket

    Woonsocket, are you sure you aren't Glenn Beck? You sure sound like the sheep that follow the foreign billionaire media mogul who wants to see Obama's presidency destroyed.

    December 6, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  18. Dennis

    Woonsocket, put up or shut up, that is the one thing the Fox nazies are never abel to do. Pease give us the proof that the commander in cheif is dedicated to jihad and that the attorney general is dedicated to destroy the justice system. Without proof It is plain to see that you rely on the same principal that Fox does which is “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it”
    by the way that is from Adolf Hitlerl,

    December 6, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  19. JT the Show Me State College Freshman

    Nate, I could not have said it better myself. If you make the far left mad and the far right mad, you are somewhere in the middle. That is where you should be as President of the United States. Personally, if the far left is mad and if the far right is mad, that makes me happy. We need to move to the middle, and work together as Americans. Now what did Abraham Lincoln say about a house being divided? It cannot stand.

    December 6, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  20. Death Panel Sarah

    Hey Woonsocket.....
    The polls MAY be 2 to 1 Democrat....that's because there ARE 2 Democrats to 1 reptili'con' in this country.
    Barely 30% in this country want to be called reptili'con'. This is a fair sampling of the actual citizens of this country!!!!
    I guess you are part of the stupid, gullible minority!!!
    Why don't you go get your daily brainwashing over at FAUX news, now.
    ...and don't forget to get your daily dose of s**t in your ears on your drive to work(assuming you do work) from your talk radio nuts!!!

    December 6, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  21. Nekodapnw

    @ Woonsocket, So, if I'm reading this correctly, Obama is (and forever will be) a Muslim because he was born to a Muslim father or the moms boyfriend was a Muslim or the school he went to was full of Muslim kids. Even if he practices Christianity, he is still a Muslim because he was born that way? If this is true, why are Christian charities bothering with things like missionary work in Islamic countries, and why do people like Ann Coulter advocate "invading all Islamic countries and converting them to Christianity?" Isn't this a waste of time and resources according to this "once a Muslim, always a Muslim" logic?
    Your extreme line of thinking has hijacked the republican party much the same way Al-quaeda has hijacked the Muslims.

    December 6, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  22. JD

    And isn't it ironic that the public only agrees with the parts of Obama's plan on Afghanistan that were originally put forth by George W. Bush?

    Oh wait...we can't talk about that.

    December 6, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  23. Seid

    Grewing up in Islamic household doesn't make you a terorrist. Those who fight in the support of Taliban have their own agenda like any other fighters but the media lable them as "islamic Terrorst" . That is where started the rift. The war is between America and those who commit a crime during 9/11, the war is not beween America and Islam unfortunately the narrow minded Bush maped out the war is between Islam and US which leads to this cheaos. Have you heard a Jweish or a christian terrosrist despite so many crimes made by this group, i haven't heard none from the media, why the media didn't lable as a Jewsih or a christian act of terror? becasue it is wrong to generlise a group of pepole act is an act ofthe mass, it is also wrong to lable an act of individual to the motive of a terrosrist group. I am mulism am not supporting the Taliban..

    December 6, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  24. gary davis Harbor Oregon proud american

    he is cleaning up Bush Cheney Rove mess and we will be pulling out soon . this country is lucky to have a man that really cares 🙂

    December 6, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  25. Indy

    Why on earth are people scared of Obama pencilling in a date to START withdrawls from Afganastan ? This means nothing to the Taliban and they are not as stupid as the people that take this date literally. The people that have a problem with this date just have to put Obama down for almost everything. Anyone with any amount of intellegence knows the date means nothing other then he would like to start bringing troops home. That is the words and strategy of an intellegent President, verses the republicans that want to spend an eternity at war. The days of shoot first, invade first are in the past. It is time to be more responsible and include allies and keep your promises such as Obama did when he campaigned that if he sent troops into harms way there would always be an exit strategy. If anyone thinks this date does anything to help the taliban they are without a clear thought. Too easy for the everage person, to figure out the date means nothing until July 2011 and may mean very little when the time comes.

    December 6, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
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