Support in U.S. for Afghan War Drops Sharply, Poll Finds
WASHINGTON — After a series of violent episodes and setbacks, support for the war in Afghanistan has dropped sharply among both Republicans and Democrats, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
The survey found that more than two-thirds of those polled — 69 percent — thought that the United States should not be at war in Afghanistan. Just four months ago, 53 percent said that Americans should no longer be fighting in the conflict, more than a decade old.
The increased disillusionment was even more pronounced when respondents were asked their impressions of how the war was going. The poll found that 68 percent thought the fighting was going “somewhat badly” or “very badly,” compared with 42 percent who had those impressions in November.
The latest poll was conducted by telephone from March 21 to 25 with 986 adults nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
Negative impressions of the war have grown among Republicans as well as Democrats, according to the Times/CBS News poll. Among Republicans, 60 percent said the war was going somewhat or very badly, compared with 40 percent in November. Among Democrats, 68 percent said the war was going somewhat or very badly, compared with 38 percent in November. But the poll found that Republicans were more likely to want to stay in Afghanistan for as long as it would take to stabilize the situation: 3 in 10 said the United States should stay, compared with 2 in 10 independents and 1 in 10 Democrats.
Republicans themselves are divided, however, over when to leave, with a plurality, 40 percent, saying the United States should withdraw earlier than the end of 2014, when under an agreement with the Afghan government all American troops are to be out of the country.
The specific questions:
29. What is your impression of how the war in Afghanistan is going for the United States
right now – very well, somewhat well, somewhat badly, or very badly?
3% Very Well
22% Somewhat well
33% Somewhat badly
35% Very badly
7% Don’t know, no answer
30. Do you think the U.S. is doing the right thing by fighting the war in Afghanistan
now, or should the U.S. not be involved in Afghanistan now?
23% Right thing
69% Not involved
7% Don’t know, no answer
31. Regardless of whether you think taking military action in Afghanistan was the right thing to do–would you say the war in Afghanistan has been mostly a success for the United States, or not?
59% Not a success
32. The U.S. is expected to withdraw about a third of its troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2012 and all of its troops by the end of 2014. Which of the following comes closest to your opinion? 1. The U.S. should withdraw all of its troops sooner, and not wait until the end of 2014, 2. The U.S. should keep the timetable and withdraw all of its troops by the end of 2014, or 3.The U.S. should stay in Afghanistan for as long as it takes to stabilize the situation there?
44% Withdraw sooner
33% Withdraw 2014
3% Withdraw now (volunteered)
33. Now that Osama bin Laden has been killed, do you feel you have a clear idea of what the war in Afghanistan is all about–that is, what we are fighting for?