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. Ernie

    The people who agree with Obama are fools.

    December 6, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  2. Anonymous are a racist idiot

    December 6, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  3. jim

    (shakes head)

    it's such a shame that there are people like woonsocket out there who are pathetically ignorant and darn proud of it. i mean, even when you show them proof, they stick their heads in the sand and just ignore it.

    one things for sure. I'm glad i have a mind that is capable of reason. AND, that I'm not frightened by some imagined bogeyman politician.

    December 6, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  4. Woonsocket

    Hey Death Panel – lets see, we shouldn't judge Obama by his Islamic upbringing ? Should we judge him by his 20 year association with a racist black nationalist the most Rev. Wright ? Or Mr. Obama's association with the killer Bill Ayers, who was invited to the inaugural ? Or perhaps Van Jones, the Marxist-Leninist worshiper of Castro ? All of these people are the closes advisors to Mr. Obama and consult with him regularly.

    And why did Mr. Obama lash out at the police in New Haven but tell us to wait to make a judgement on the Jihadist who butchered our military people at Fort Hood?

    And why did Mr. Obama seem oblivious to the massacre at Fort Hood in the days following ?

    Mr. Obama is not fit to be President. Your heart and soul must be with the American people but his is CLEARLY not. But of course Obamists reponses are always BUSH, BUSH, BUSH. You and Obama may not want to accept responsibility for Obama's radicalism and short comings but you can't avoid them.

    December 6, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  5. John in Iowa

    "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?"
    I wasnt aware Bush suggested sending 30k more troops to Afghanistan, you sure you have the right plan?

    "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"

    Let me get this straight, you are suggesting the best thing we can do is drop an atom bomb on Afghanistan to kill thousands of innocent civilians in return for 9/11?
    Do not tred on you is right because you are full of c**p.

    December 6, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  6. We need a "woonsocket" poll

    I'd like to see a poll that uses the ideas put forth by "woonsocket" so we can find out how many people in this country actually think so ignorantly.
    I'd like to think it's a very small minority, but if "woonsocket's" approval rating is high, I truly believe we are doomed as a nation

    December 6, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  7. Woonsocket

    CNN – a subsidary of KOS.

    December 6, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  8. m jeff

    We have been in Afghanistan for eight years without a plan, it's about time we got one.

    December 6, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  9. Fitz in Texas

    Woonsocket December 6th, 2009 9:46 am ET

    patti dearest – live your little Obamist fantasy. Mr. Obama grew up in a Islamic household in Indonesia. Did you know that ?
    And Obama just hasn't found that perfect church yet. Must be pretty tough because there's only about 900 to choose from. Seems many folks are off that kool-aid high, but there still are a few drinking it.

    December 6, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  10. Woonsocket

    Anonymouse – I was wondering when one of you Obamists were going to play the race card. So if Obama is only half black wouldn't that make me only 50% racist ? Trying to understand your charge.

    December 6, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  11. Fraud, fraud, fraud........

    Obama's overall job approval rating is under 50%.........

    It's meaningless if the public agrees with him on a single item.......

    Obama is ONE and DONE. Start the drumbeat.

    December 6, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. Carl

    Let's all remember that Afghanistan was BUSH'S MESS. He and Cheney created it over eight years of serious neglect. Had they adequately funded the real war against our real enemies with the resources and troops needed to get the job done...from the start...we may well not even be in Afghanistan today. Obama takes this fight very seriously. As soon as he became president, he dispatched 21,000 additional forces there. We need to give our new president the opportunity to employ his strategy in Afghanistan. We already tried the inept Bush-Cheney one. It got us no where. Obama has made it clear that our committment there is NOT open ended. Don't forget that, unlike Bush or "5 Deferments" Cheney, Obama has met the coffins of the war dead returning to the states. He has walked among the gravestones of section 60 in Arlington National Cemetery...where the dead from Iraq and Afhanistan lie buried. In eight years, Bush or Cheney did not attend a single military funeral. It's hard to understand the cost of war when your administration seeks to hide it (barring news photos at Dover) from the public. For them, it was easy to send other people's children to fight and die in needless wars (Iraq). Thank God that President Obama gets it! He will never use the military as the first and only option...but the very last!

    December 6, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  13. Indy

    Everyone on here notice that every entry Woonsocket comment on here is what Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, Palin have said and not one comment is fact. They are all fiction that the above have concocted to their masses, and he actually believes them. I actually feel very sorry for this person, as I would if someone was abducted by a cult leader. I thought everyone knew that Obama had a white mother ? I thought everyone knew that Obama spent time in Indonesia where Islam is the main religion ? Woonsocket, your paranoia is old news and I would highy suggest you turn off your radio and Fox for one week and feel the peace that will come with that. God Blees the ones that cannot help themselves, we need to pray for this person !

    December 6, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  14. Brewhafunk

    "As a result, nearly six in ten say defeat is possible, but an equal number also say victory is possible."

    What does this say about your polling CNN? Are your questions skewed or is it just (to borrow a line from G dub) fuzzy math? To recap, 120% of the population says we will either win or lose. Wow.

    December 6, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  15. Woonsocket

    Well......slander me if you must, but November 2010 elections puts an end to the Obamadrama. Barry will be a lame duck the Wednesday morning after the election. The Marxist will be removed from congressional leadership and the nation will begin to heal after the nighmare that began on inauguration day 2009.

    December 6, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  16. Mobius

    This only proves that nobody's paying attention, as evidenced by all these clueless folks who think there's a difference between Dem and GOP shenanigans.

    It's not Red and Blue, it's them and you.

    December 6, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  17. Fitz in Texas

    Anonymous December 6th, 2009 11:05 am ET are a racist idiot
    Let's see.....the thinking must be when I can't come up with a good answer it's always good to fall back on the race card theory. Yawn, how old that one is getting.

    December 6, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. Bev

    This poll was taken by Obama's state run media-–and should NOT be used to reflect what the majority in the country think/feel regarding Obama's Afghan decision.

    This would be the same as the opposing side using a Fox poll to indicate what the MAJORITY in the country feel regarding his decision/plans (although the Fox poll would be more credible, as they have the LARGEST number of Independents who contribute to their polls).

    Look at the unbiased, national polls--to get the "real" views of the majority in the country regarding Obama's Afghan plans.

    I think that the fact that Obama's approval/support numbers are going down daily--is also a GREAT reflection of how the majority in the country "really" feel as well.

    December 6, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  19. Dave

    To all of you "so-called liberal intellectuals", woonsocket must have hit a nerve. He sure got a lot of reaction; when maybe it should have been ignored.
    We are not going to accomplish anything in Afganastan, except more losses of our young men and women. The Taliban will hide in their caves until 18 months have passed; when Obama, mistakenly set the timeline for withdrawal.

    December 6, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  20. Ron (Denver)

    Well, finally! The man is pragmatic (and criticised for it) and thoughtful (again, criticised).

    When it comes to ensuring everyone gets access to healthcare, so many are against it, but when it comes to expanding a war, let's all jump on the bandwagon (and yes, I support his strategy on Afganistan). Is anyone paying attention?

    December 6, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. Larry in Houston


    The constitution that treasure was violated regularly under the Cheney/Bush administration (the order of power is correct). Your short memory on the situation this country is in was handed to Obama, not caused by Obama. Don't get it twisted.

    December 6, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. D.W. Rehoboth, MA

    Phoenix, we aren't in Afghanistan to liberate women or students or even for human rights issues (though I"m sure if we actually were you'd be screaming that we had no right to be there for that) .. we are there to track down Bin Laden and those responsible for 9/11 .. period. Those against President Obama can flip sides faster than lighting on any issue.. just wait to see what Obama does and then spin the opposite side. He can do no right, whether it's getting a dog or his wife's dress the haters will swarm. As far as I am concerned any republican who did not stand up and shout for Bush's head while he destroyed this country and got us involved in two wars despite what we the people (and yes this is MY country too not just yours) wanted and what the rest of the world wanted then you have no voice now. Childish racists comments and hate mongering like Woonsocket posts show just how irrational and desperate the other side is to stay in control.

    December 6, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  23. Tom in Illinois

    What you write Woonsocket really hits a nerve with Obama supporters. Keep up the good work. Many people in this country agree with what you are saying, but don't take the time to put it into words like you.

    December 6, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  24. Black Viper

    The only one way we can "WIN" in afghanistan is to be able to separate other talibans that are willing to join the Karzai government and work together to build their nation for peace and prosperity from the extremists talibans that strongly believe in the shariah muslim laws and willing to take over the power in afghanistan by force or terrorise day and nights their own people to achieve that goal.
    This also will not happen without a strong desire from Karzai to fight corruption within his regime and establish a trustfull environment for the people of afghanistan to work with him to achieve tat goal.
    The goal for the us army now is not only to kill the extremist talibans but to win the trust of the afghan people in working together with their leader Karzai to provide security and training not only militarly but also socialy.
    How do you achieve that goal at very low cost? You do it by giving to this people what is most important to them in their day and day life FOOD and GOD.
    1. Start to build 1 or 2 mosques in every provinces
    2. Equip people with the coran not radios to listen to fraudulent election results.
    3. Build more islamic schools to teach the coran and recruit more afghan teachers
    4. Work with UN to provide abondance of food to the villages
    5. Work with local leaders to develop real agriculture instead of growing poppy.

    That is my strategy I think will work otherwise we will be there for 100 years. is this achievable in 18 months I don't think so. It is good to set a withdrawal date for political goal at home but also to send a signal to the afghans that we are not there to take over their country .

    December 6, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  25. Selina

    Isn't barack the one who said "we are not a Christian nation" I remember hearing that, sure it WASN'T on cnn...also he pronounces PAKISTAN way to well!!!

    won't get posted for sure

    December 6, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10