More than half of Americans back Obama’s Koran apology – poll
More than half of Americans support President Barack Obama’s apology for U.S. troops burning copies of the Koran, an incident that triggered a spate of bloody protests and attacks on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
In a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday, 56 percent of those surveyed backed Obama, who has been criticized by U.S. Republican presidential candidates for apologizing to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Twenty-three percent disagreed.
While the spasm of violence that erupted following the incident on a NATO base in Afghanistan does not appear to have significantly altered Americans’ perspective on the war, 66 percent of those polled also said Washington should bring its troops home immediately.
Obama’s formal apology and the debate that decision created have underscored the delicate course the president must tread in his campaign for re-election in November.
Afghanistan and other foreign policy issues are sure to take a backseat to the economy in the campaign but Obama is loath to give Republicans more ammunition in the crucial months before the elections.
The poll, conducted from March 2 to March 5, showed that far more Democrats supported Obama’s apology, with 76 percent of them saying Obama made the right decision.
Only 37 percent of Republicans backed the apology, and almost half said Obama was not right to do so. Some 53 percent of independents supported the apology.