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

    If you believed Bush, Cheney and Fox news, then you must still think Iraq was responsible for 9-11, had WMD's, was not a war of choice, and "Mission Accomplished." However, being greeted as liberators is not the same as being shot at for being occupiers.

    I'll take my chances with the president the majority of voters elected in 2008, and not the one who lost by 500,000 votes in 2000.

    December 6, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  2. Death Panel Sarah

    To Woonsocket......
    Again FAUX is lying to you .....they don't have 9 tou of 10 highest rated NEWS shows!!!

    It is maybe 9 out of 10 highest rated right wing wacko OPINION shows!!!

    Get your facts straight....when you speak without checking, you look like a total ignoramus( like a tea-bagger or a birther)!!!

    December 6, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  3. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    I support the efforts of President Obama to clean up all the problems he inherited from King George the II and not to do it just one at time. There are too many to be worked on one at a time.

    No other chump-in-chief left a bigger mess to be cleaned than the shrub.

    Now, President Obama's "porkulus" bill is bringing home the bacon by lowering the rate of unemployment, we have actually moved back into positive growth by quarter manufacturing is beginning to turn the corner and inflation has remained non-existent..

    Good job President Obama!

    December 6, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  4. Susan in NC

    Let's "get it done" and get the heck OUT of there - the sooner, the better! CONGRATS to President Obama for having a PLAN - something we're not used to!

    December 6, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. Don

    That would be correct, the 'Bush' war policies that Obama has adopted are favored by Americans.

    December 6, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. somoHllalliK

    What do you mean we agree with Obama, don't you mean Obama agrees with most Americans?!! This is the true reason why it took him 4 months to make the decision...he had to wait till the poll results were in to see what the popular (most likely to get re-elected) American response would be.

    December 6, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. Death Panel Sarah

    Hey everybody....let's ignore Woonsocket. He is too dumb to ever 'get it'!
    It is always best to ignore the ignorant!!!

    December 6, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. Aspen Professor

    I certainly have no objection with going after al Quida and the Taliban militants wherever they are and that includes Pakistan.

    I'd dramatically increase the number of armed drones and attack attack attack until the militants were so nervous and so lacking in sleep that the non-militant population rose up and went after those fools themselves.

    What we need to STOP immediately is the dumb Republican extremists idea of Nation Building – Democracy Building anywhere else in the world. It is the choice of those countries, NOT ours to make for them. The Repub attempts show arrogance, hypocrisy, and ignorance of history, which has become their trademark.

    December 6, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. phoenix86

    Americans are tired of the wars, but they won't like the taste of surrender either – which is where Obama will lead us.

    Unfortunately for the women of Afghanistan, their days of freedom are numbered. Unfortunately for the students fighting for freedom in Iran, they are on their own as well.

    The American president seems happy to play the patsy to most totalitarian regimes and content to ignore the human rights violations all around him.

    2012 can't come soon enough.

    December 6, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  10. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    Super, lets send more troops and not pay for it. That way, the remaining 99.5% of this population can continue to have no involvement with our military objectives. Bomb other countries? Why not, it's no skin off of my teeth.

    December 6, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  11. ur still an id10t

    Hey Sniffit, why did you change your name to woonsocket.

    December 6, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  12. diridi

    I told you he is doing fine.....poll was 51/ fact, i do not want to go to war....but...well, they messed our we have to.....rusians went....this is lame excuse....we win....

    December 6, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  13. GeorgeVT

    Hello? This is NOT Bush's plan for Afghanistan – his plan was to ignore it – use mercenaries – and probably before it was over have Haliburton running the war – oh wait – that's Cheney's plan...

    December 6, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  14. A Canadian

    The ironic thing I find as a Human Being is that America will spend Billions on a war in Afghanistan and have the publics support but when it comes to spending on Health Care for her own people that are sick or injured...There is a HUGE public outcry. America you MUST look at yourselves.

    December 6, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  15. wes

    woonsocket – If that's not sarcasm, it has no credibility.

    December 6, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. Willow

    For those fools who keep referring to the "Bush War Policy", are you referring to the polcy of lying to your allies, getting them into Afghanistan and then Cut & Run to Iraq–leaving others holding the bag?

    That policy? The same one that has ruined the US relationships with other nations around the world, destroyed US credibility internationally, oh and the same policy which has sealed the fate of American soldiers in Afghanistan who will no longer have the military suppot needed to complete the task.....

    Congratualions you bragging fools of the right, you must be so proud of yourself! and the failed policies of your doomed former demigod "W"

    December 6, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  17. Phoenix 666

    Hey 86! Keep up the evil, and you will soon earn your tail and horns.

    December 6, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. Helena Montana

    When President Obama was campaigning he stated he would remove the troops from Iraq responsibly and take the focus back to Afghanistan which General Petraeus has requested.

    I'm happy to see the President is keeping his campaign promises.

    December 6, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  19. Dan, TX

    The republicans have become socialists. They don't want to stop waste fraud and abuse in Medicare, they want to perpetuate it. Kids don't need to help take care of their aging parents, its the government's role, according to the republicans.


    December 6, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  20. Death Panel Sarah

    To somo(whatever that gibberish is).....

    Don't you think a President SHOULD see what the people want to do, since he represents us?

    The last president probably sought approval from big business as to what to do(or from Darth Cheney).

    Which is better??

    December 6, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  21. quarterback

    Republicant's are some of the dumbest people on earth.

    Blind, deaf and stupid.

    December 6, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  22. annie s

    I agree with A Canadian. What kind of a people are we that we support billions for more war but fight against providing affordable health care to our citizens?

    December 6, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  23. ashley

    @ Mark B- "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."

    It's as "simple" as that huh? Killing hundreds of thousands of people with an atomic bomb is not simple. Imagine the country who pays back the debt to us in return, would u agree that is is so "simple" to smell the flesh of your fellow Americans, if you survive such a travesty, I think you need to take a deep look at your soul. The lesson from Hiroshima is that the atomic bomb is a very dangerous weapon, and if all world leaders think like u, then the world as we know it would end, it's as "simple" as that.

    December 6, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  24. Nick San Diego

    Woonsocket Your hatred runs deep...........You're going to be an unhappy individual for the next 8 years.
    Your kind is going to be left in the dust as Obama rights the wrongs of your hero's Bush/Chaney.
    Palin ........she'll flame out quick enough.

    December 6, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  25. Fitz in Texas

    Death Panel Sarah December 6th, 2009 10:27 am ET

    To Woonsocket......
    Again FAUX is lying to you .....they don't have 9 tou of 10 highest rated NEWS shows!!!

    It is maybe 9 out of 10 highest rated right wing wacko OPINION shows!!!

    Get your facts straight....when you speak without checking, you look like a total ignoramus( like a tea-bagger or a birther)!!!
    Or, perhaps a "truther"...Death Panel Sarah"....which I would bet is the category you fall into.

    December 6, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
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