August 17th, 2010
10:18 AM ET
11 years ago

Poll: Opposition to Iraq, Afghanistan wars reach all time high


 A new CNN poll reveals Americans' opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is at an all time high. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images/File)

(CNN) - Two-thirds of Americans favor President Obama's plan to remove combat troops from Iraq by the end of the month as opposition to the war in that country, as well as the one in Afghanistan, has climbed to new highs.

According to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey, Obama's withdrawal plan wins support not because Americans think the U.S. has achieved its goals in Iraq - only three in 10 feel that way - but because a majority believe that the U.S. will never achieve its goals in that country no matter how long troops remain there.

That's one reason why 69 percent oppose the war in Iraq - the highest amount of opposition in any CNN poll.

Meanwhile, 65 percent favor Obama's plan to remove most combat troops but keep 50,000 there for non-combat duties. Another 19 percent want the U.S. to remove all troops immediately; only 16 percent oppose Obama's plan because they would like to see U.S. troops remain in Iraq indefinitely.

Americans are also pessimistic about what will happen next in Iraq after combat troops are removed but don't feel the same way about what might occur in the U.S. Six in 10 say they are not confident in the Iraqi government's ability to handle the situation in that country. But only 28 percent say that removing U.S. troops from the country increases the chances of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

Unpopularity with the war in Afghanistan also reached an all-time high in CNN polling with 62 percent saying they oppose it. Moreover, confidence in the Afghan government is even lower than it is for the Iraqi government. Seven in 10 Americans are not confident that Hamid Karzai's government can handle the situation there.

In an interview with NBC on Sunday, Gen. David Petraeus, the top general in Afghanistan, made clear that it will take a lot of time and commitment to achieve the overall goal of preventing Afghanistan from again becoming a haven for international terrorism.

"I didn't come out here to carry out a graceful exit or something like that," Petraeus said of taking command in Afghanistan this summer to replace ousted Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

Petraeus also repeated the administration line on plans to begin withdrawing some troops from Afghanistan in August 2011, saying the "transition" will be based on conditions on the ground.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll surveyed 1,009 Americans between August 6 and 10 and carries a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

- CNN's Alexander Mooney contributed to this report </p

Filed under: Afghanistan • CNN Polls • Iraq • issues • President Obama
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. teddy

    We need to stop bleeding 15 billions per month on these wars.
    Afganistan is a bigger trap than Iraq with no oil or reason to be there.

    August 17, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  2. DenInNooYawk

    Wolfowitz and Bush wasted and destroyed all those lives based on lies and fear. Finally, the American public is coming around to the truth.

    August 17, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  3. Me

    Your polls mean nothing.
    All polls, including the ones that make me feel good
    As well as the ones that make me feel bad
    Have absolutely no weight or meaning.
    CNN does more polls than actual journalism
    The political ticker™ is all about polls and Palin.

    August 17, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Vote Republican to stay in the Middle East for 100 years, that's what McCain and Republicans will do.

    August 17, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Bob in PA

    You fight a War to defeat evil and evil people, not just keep it or them somewhat in check. Based upon the fact that we never saw Obama's grades, I'm sure he got a "C" or "D" in World History.

    August 17, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. B

    This country is on the Brink and Broke! We need to start using resources
    where they are needed like education, job creation, and rebuilding -THIS COUNTRY- not the mideast. Bin Laden is getting his way, "WE WILL BLEED THEM TO DEATH" ....... It is happening people!

    When will we ever learn!

    August 17, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  7. Rush Goebbels

    Wow,it only took ten years to figure out that these wars were started so the Sword Makers of America could make a few trillion dollars.Ike was right,we know whos in control and has been for some time now.

    August 17, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. Four and The Door

    Americans think the U.S. has achieved its goals in Iraq – only three in 10 feel that way...
    I suppose Saddam Hussein was not available to come out to a US aircraft carrier and sign an unconditional surrender so that might be what these people were expecting.

    Our military was clearly successful in meeting their real objectives of leaving the country in a situation where the democratically formed Iraqi government has a likelihood of successful governance going forward. Americans have every right to be proud of the success of our professional military and their accomplishments in Iraq.

    August 17, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  9. Larry

    Iraq isn't stupid. As long as we're willing to give them billions of dollars while our own economy crashes they'll take it.

    Get out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    August 17, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  10. Clwyd

    They never should have gone in the first place, but we had an idiot president who had to get even for his father being insulted. idiot bush!

    August 17, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. manhandler

    Eliminate Afghanistan as a haven for terrorists? Huh??? What's to prevent terrorist groups from planning attacks from ANYWHERE? The astonishing disconnect of our "leaders" when it comes to these preposterous wars has drained this country of assets, both human and monetary that we never could afford. Not to mention the tens of thousands of innocent civilians blown to bits. What an incredible tragedy.

    August 17, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  12. Dave

    I would hope so. All they're doing there is protecting the CIA run poppy fields. And now we're saying we'll be there a while longer. Ok, so does that have anything to do with the new oil field discovery there??? Bet your life it does.

    August 17, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  13. GOP Scorched-Earth Politics

    It is a moot point because we already established a time table to pull-out from both wars. We never should have invaded Iraq in the first place and the polls support that sentiment.

    August 17, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  14. Robert J

    Why should this be a suprise. The purpose / mission so misguidedly taken gas not and never will be achileved. Bush didn't know where he was going (as in "mission accomplished" showboating) how he would get there, why he was there (other than ego and money) or how we as a country would ever get out. just like Vietnam. Just like all Republicans. make a mess and leave it for the Democrats to clean up – Bush was a disgusting imbecile when he was in office and still is today! Why not have Bush on the Sunday talk shows with the parents of those killed for nothing. THAT would be reality TV!

    August 17, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  15. Ted

    I say declare victory and leave. Neither of George Bush's wars should ever have occurred. The GOP had no problem funding the wars and the enormous deficits that they caused.

    August 17, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  16. jim

    We need to bring our soldiers home now.Why wait another year when we bring more home ,dead !!!

    August 17, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
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