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. dallas alphonso

    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.

    I really wish you knew what real Marxism was not the Fox created for TV nonsense, after writing what you did, they would have rounded you up and silenced you. You are a disgrace to all the people who fought and died protecting us for that horror. if you don't know of what you speak then shut your mouth. You would not have survived a day in the USSR. You and the other brained washed sheep who watch Rupert's Propaganda a machine have not yet figured out what they are trying to do our country, they are trying to destroy it and you are helping them. Rupert Murdoch is not an American an could careless about this country. He and his ilk are trying to weaken our country and has hired other collaborators to spread their propaganda. You have simple become a pawn in their game and are helping to destroy our great country, shame on you!

    December 6, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. John in Iowa

    "It is also an amazement that obama was elected because of a
    crooked, "community organization, ACORN."

    Are you suggesting that ACORN rigged so many votes that it got Obama in? Wow, that has to be the silliest one yet.

    "Isn't barack the one who said "we are not a Christian nation" I remember hearing that, sure it WASN'T on cnn"
    He then went on to say 'certainly not just' and went on to say we are also a nation of Jews, muslims, atheists etc.
    I believe it was a mis-speak, he should have said 'we are not just a christian nation', he had a yoda moment.

    December 6, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  3. A New Generation is Coming and they are not Conservatives

    Fox "News" has high ratings for their opinion shows, but when you consider that their average viewer age is over 60 then you realize that they have cornered the market on older americans who watch a lot of TV opinion shows. You know where most young people get their news - the internet. I do not watch any TV news shows. I read credible sites such as CNN, Politico, etc., and gather my news from there (of course all the right wingers out there will claim the ONLY source of news that isn't biased is Fox which is totally laughable since anyone with an ounce of neturality can see that Fox is biased) and I also read the newspaper. So, Fox thinks they have so many followers - they don't. They have people (on average older) who watch TV shows that tell them what they want to hear. The younger, informed people do not even watch those shows (on any network) and are on the internet.

    December 6, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  4. Selina

    used to hate fox new
    now I watch it exclusively
    the only news channel that isn't
    having a slobbering love affair with barack

    December 6, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  5. wbn

    Yes, Obama sure didn't want to commit more troops, and he delayed far too long; however, Bush's success with the Irag surge (which Obama opposed at the time and denied its effectiveness all along), Obama's own campaigning about how Bush dropped the ball in Afghanistan and how that war was much more important than the one in Iraq, and Obama's military leaders on the ground pushing for a surge in Afghanistan all pushed him toward his decision. Sad to say, it seems his heart is not really in it (how discouraging this must be to our troops in harm's way), and that is shown by his foolish desire to start removing troops in such a short time. he knows that is impossible, but he says those things to try and appease the left-wingers who are upset with him. President Bush made decisions (always with the guidance of his military advisors) without worrying about which way the political winds were blowing.

    December 6, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  6. beevee

    I think that the President's troup surge strategy will work if only it is executed with care and precision. The US and NATO forces should build all that is required quietly and surprise the terrorists on both sides of the region with a lightning strike and move away. They should call it the operation 'lightning'. The less said about the actual plan the better are chances to curb the enemy.

    December 6, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. Ken


    "Are you really this clueless??? This is like giving the opposing team your plans/strategies before a football game"

    Hah...we set a timeline in Iraq. Seems to be going according to plan. You know Gen McCrystal doesn't seem to have the same concerns you have. I'd trust his military planning skills over your football planning skills any day of the week.

    December 6, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. Randall from Detroit now in Torrance, CA - Desert Storm Veteran and Anti-GOP

    As Rachel Maddow points out, Obama has continued with the Bush Doctrine: Strike first anywhere in the world even if there is no threat to the U.S. Afghanistan is the Warmart for the Taliban and Al Quaeda, but let them shop there. The U.S. can still use UAVs to kill these heroin manufacturers and distributors. Does that place even have an airport? How in the hell are they a threat to U.S. soil? Are they going to attack us with a tribe of renegades on camelback? Come on! This war is NOT necessary. Our allies won't even commit more than 500 troops because they already got embaraased by Jarge Duh-Huh?-Bu'-Yuh Bahoosh because of his idiocracy and reatrded insane lies to the world. This whole thing sounds eerily familiar just as when Gee Dub Bahoosh said we were in immenent danger and the war would be over before he planned his next bar-b-cue at his TexASS ranch. Everything that is taking place now is the backlash and fallout form the plan created by nerd of the century, Karl Rove. Karl Rove never got laid in High School so he decided to become Lex Luthor and succeded. When he ran into Jarge Bahoosh the first time, he knew he could manipulate and control his little pea sized, coke and alcohol soaked, -1.- GPA fragile brain and make him say and do whatever Karl told him to do. Jarge Bahoosh never was and never will be smart enough to make a wise decision on anything in politics or life. Bush was the consummate dummy. Yet there seems to still be a segment of society in the U.S. who still worships Bush because these same comatose victims line up to get an autograph from Barbie GOP Playmate Sarah Palin on the cover of her best selling book, "Going Bogue." Fox Noise staffers like Glen Beck and Sean Hannity were reportedly caught with her book between their legs jerking off on set. This is a big deal. Why are so many Americans still uneducated and too StOoPiD to know what is being sold as Fascist propoganda? Why is the GOP a bunch of war mongering fanatics, whose primary concern is not the safety of America but how much money can be made at the expense of Americans? Pretty soon universl health care will be passed and the Re-Dumb-Agains will be so pissed off that they will probably have a seance and try to cast a spell on the Democrats. The good news is that Rush Limbaugh is going to die soon from lung and mouth cancer because he keeps puffing on those cigars to show how big and rich he is and just how much his clogged arteries are at risk from chomping down ten quarter pounders at McFat drive throughs. Yay, the Dems won!

    December 6, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  9. Fitz in Texas

    Death Panel Sarah December 6th, 2009 11:46 am ET

    Hey everybody Woonsocket is Fitz in Texas(or, at least, they share the same brain!!!).
    Nope, we're not the same people and once again you make a stupid untrue statement.

    December 6, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. Dcook140

    I am suprised that the number is only in the mid sixties what with all the positive help that the MSM and CNN provide. I will make a bet that after the deployment, CNN will unleash Michael Weir, etc and tell us all how futile our involvement is. Of course, at that time it will result in the loss of American lives.

    December 6, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  11. txleadhead

    Where do they take these polls? Not from the average American. Bush made a joke of Afghanastan + 9/11 when we detoured South to Iraq. Greed will do that to you. It was never over oil but oil prices. We had six times as many troops in Iraq that Afghanastan. And Afghanastan was where our attack came from. Don't look for too much help from the allies. They were there for us in the beginning till Bush stabbed them in the back + had the Troops head to iraq. And, that was on phony intell. Phony from the start.. We need to bring our troops home to protect our own Country + Borders. After all 15.000,000 illegals have made it through. Just imagine how many sleeper cells have come in?
    Also, why should they get new roads built by us while I can't drive on one. When will the next Antique Bridge collapse? Americans are tired of their Tax money getting spent on everyone excepts Americans. No-one is doing anything for us. He can take his war tax + shove it.

    December 6, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. Dave

    If it has support of Republicans, then good poll.
    CNN get a life!!

    December 6, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. Bren

    Big John:

    And, I do not believe that Obama-as president and commander and chief--would actually give a "DATE" as to when our troops will be leaving--so that the enemy can organize/plan accordingly. It just further proves the point-Obama could not even manage a lemonade stand--or a better example would be Obama couldn't even manage "cash for clunkers"--let alone more serious concerns/issues regarding our country.

    Ken: I did not LIE. Google it.

    Also, Fox news does NOT just have the largest number of Conservative viewers-–it also has the largest number of Independent and moderate Democrat viewers!!!

    December 6, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  14. Gary

    It's pretty pathetic when helping Americans health care isn't popular, helping Americans bussiness isn't popular but increasing a war in another country is a hit. We knew if we kept trying we would find something you right wing idiots could support.

    December 6, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. jj

    Just like ill advised lou dobbs spewing hate, we need to stop basing polls on race and what republicans approve or not.....
    Ok CNN?

    December 6, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  16. Steven

    America doesn't agree with Obama. America agrees with America. Obama didn't want to send the troops.

    December 6, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  17. Geaux Tigers

    Do any of you people that continue to bash Bush know that in 2006 the democrats took control of congress and that is when the economy started going down hill. As far as the military pulling out of Iraq or Afghanistan do you realize that still today the US has bases in Germany, Italy, Japan... do ya get the picture, we will never leave. Keep your change Im looking forward to 2010 and 2012. And for you Fox haters, please explain to me why Van Jones is gone, could it be because Fox reported it, what about ACORN???? Climate-gate not on ABC, CBS, NBC. Face it liberalism is going down.

    December 6, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. Craig

    Ok... so if things go completely wrong, then how many will flip on a dime and be against him?... See, this is why polls don't have any credibility.

    December 6, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  19. Selective Memory

    I remember Mr. Reagan's poll numbers being in the twenties at the end of his first year in office, and unemployment had reached 10.8%.

    December 6, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  20. Death Panel Sarah

    Hey Everybody,

    Come on! We are taking the side of the playground with the biggest slide so we can throw our rocks farther and keep woonsocket far away.

    December 6, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  21. TOTUS

    I simply love my photo. Finally, a towering and glorious tribute to the real power of the once free world – TOTUS!

    December 6, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  22. Dean

    You have got a wagon leading the horse problem here. People don't agree with something Obama has done. Obama did something because the people agree with it. His decision was based entirely on polls. Get used to it.

    December 6, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  23. Bren

    We will see after the 2010 elections---what the MAJORITY in the country "really" feel regarding Obama and the Democrats.

    And, based on numerous national polls--it does NOT look good for the Democrats. They are going to get clobbered.

    There are 49 blue dog Dems up for reelection-in conservative districts-that were won by McCain!!!

    I can't wait until the elections--it will be like Christmas for our economy/states/country!!!!

    December 6, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. Jack in OH

    Obama is a shady character and is sending more of our sons to their doom.

    December 6, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. Randall from Detroit now in Torrance, CA - Desert Storm Veteran - To: "Selina"

    Selina, please come to your senses before you get sucked into the dark abyss of hate and depravity and outright false truths and unfounded absurdity perpetuated by FoX News. Please sign back in and give all readers here why you hate President Obama so much. Is it because he is Harvard educated, black, a successful family man and husband with a hot wife and two absoluetly wonder daughters? Is it because he actually has enough wisdom and patience to weigh the evidence, intelligence and security assessments without someone like like Karl Rove writing it out for him in PowerPoint slides? Is it because he has gained worldwide respect and admiration because he sees a way to acheive a better world through international cooperation without war being the number one goal? Is it because he has an infectious smile and is confident in his ability to run the executive branch without the Vice President telling him how and what to do day-by-day? COme on Selina, what is the reason you hate Obama? Give us some solid leitimate answers based on rationalle and reasoning. Come on. give it the 'ol college try if you can. We are all waiting to hear from you. The stage is yours.

    December 6, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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