The First Draft: Poll shows growing U.S. support for Afghan troop increase

November 25, 2009

If President Barack Obama opts to increase the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan next week, the decision could be underscored by something a bit unusual for his policies: growing U.S. public support. 
 OBAMA   
Polling data have shown for a while now that most Americans don’t favor many of Obama’s policy positions, despite his enduring personal popularity.
    
A USA Today/Gallup poll depicts Obama battling headwinds on a number of fronts: Americans oppose the closing of Gitmo by more than a 2-to-1 margin; those against healthcare reform edge out those in favor by 5 percentage points; and most don’t want accused Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed tried in civilian court in New York City.
    
Afghanistan is no cakewalk, either. Public opinion is divided over the question of more troops and 55 percent of Americans disapprove of the president’s handling of the war up to now — a reversal of his 56 percent approval rating four months ago. CANADA/
    
But the polling data, compiled Nov. 20-22, might also suggest a silver lining for the president as he nears an announcement that could send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.
    
Less than half of Americans — 47 percent — favor a troop increase. But that’s up from 42 percent in a Nov. 5-8 survey.
    
Plus, the opposition is down: 39 percent of Americans now want the president to reduce the U.S. military footprint, vs. 44 percent earlier.
    
What hasn’t changed for Obama is that Republicans, not fellow Democrats, are his best buddies when it comes to increasing troops. Seventy-two percent of Republicans back a bigger U.S. force in Afghanistan, while 57 percent of Democrats say it’s time to start pulling out. USA-ELECTION/    

That could be important for Obama’s agenda in Congress as the 2010 election approaches and Democratic incumbents in tight races consider how they might fare with Democratic voters.

The USA Today/Gallup findings are based on telephone interviews with 1,017 adults. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.

Photo credits: Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates); Reuters/Mathieu Belanger (U.S. soldier departs for Afghanistan); Reuters/Lucas Jackson (NYC crowd watches Obama)

6 comments

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None of this is news. The polls have consistently showed that the majority of Americans do not approve of his policy agenda on just about everything he is trying to force on us.It’s no wonder his overall approval rating is a dismal 45 percent.Only 38 percent approve and of the health care plan moving through congress (and that number keeps falling) and about 65 percent do not want cap and trade. When it comes to his policies, the American people say, “no thanks”.The election in November clearly showed the anger that has built with the Virginia voters saying no to the liberal candidates by at least 19 percentage points. In heavily democrat NJ, the democrat was soundly defeated by 5 percent. In NY 23 an unknown conservative (who never before ran for office) who got into the race a mere 3 weeks before election day and was 15 percent down, has so far, come within 2 percent (the absentee votes are still being counted). This is a preview of what we should see in Nov 2010.It’s no wonder the president said recently, “I don’t pay attention to polls!” Well, it’s no wonder he said that since it clearly shows the American people don’t want anything to do with his agenda.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

1. It is widely accepted that the world is at critical juncture between peace, tech & war, violence and that the prolonged two oil wars have brought about huge deficit in America and global recession. The unthinkable extended mistake could subsequently work against a most-needed climate and sustainable energy deal, plunging into double-dip global recession2. The current administration is based on the principle of anti-war and energy independence. And the announcement of war of necessity came after another tax evasion of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had been revealed. Today, the passage of historic health care reform as the best Christmas gift ever appears to be around the corner .3. The unthinkable extended mistake looks like an easy approach to draw bipartisanship, but supposedly it will end up shaking the two milestone bills and Dems inevitably.4. Even as the unthinkable extended mistake manages to succeed despite the heartbreaking sacrifices, it doesn’t help fit the growing demand for energy world-wide, from my standpoint.5. Now is the moment for Americans to go all out to generate a significant number of jobs without distraction. The incumbent administration is otherwise destined to be held accountable for all war-related accusations including those from the previous government.6. The precious American pioneer spirit and bravery shouldn’t be watered downed to the delusive patriotism. Currently, EU is charging ahead with next generation power, or Second Renaissance, first of all, Germany is throwing its fate behind this necessity.Combined with the ambitious endeavors in EU, the precious American pioneer spirit and bravery are going to shine light on the road to recovery, and it’s my belief.Thank You !

Posted by hsr0601 | Report as abusive

The litany of Obama campaign promises won wide acceptance in the media, if not in the minds of the public, at a time of campaign euphoria over a new messiah. Now that the morning after is here, the truer colors of American opinion are free to be heard. But even the President will line up once in a while. Being clueless regarding the consequences of critical designs, he is not against just going with the polls, something not done as a matter of course since the Clinton era.

Posted by David Ranville | Report as abusive

It’s deja vu all over again.Instead of it being 2009 with Obama banging the drum for Afghanistan, it’s 2003 with Bush banging the drum for Iraq.Six years from now chuckleheads will bemoaning lament why no one stopped Obama from going deeper into the Afghan hellhole.If you wondered how and why Bush dragged us into Iraq, wonder no more. Just watch the instant replay.

Posted by dom youngross | Report as abusive

Well Dom Youngross you stole all my thunder lol.Can someone please tell me the purpose of the War in Afghanistan for 2009 and beyond?Originally it was too eradicate Al-Qaeda, well they’re long gone.Originally it was to kill Osama Bin Laden, well we aren’t even trying that anymore.Originally it was to get rid of the Taliban, we’ve already agreed to give them power back.There’s 2 O-words that always seem to come in play when gov’t meddles in other countries, Oil and Opium. Afghanistan isn’t rich with oil but now they have oil pipelines extended border to border to help us out. There’s now 12 times as much opium in Afghanistan than there was 10 years ago, who’s getting rich? The Karzai family, yay!!!!!!!!!!Afghanistan is simply a smaller version of Iraq, bloodthirsty warmongering and nationbuilding. But hey if someone says support our troops and waves a flag around it must mean it’s the patriotic thing to do right?

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Lincoln raised taxes to pay for the Civil War. McKinley raised taxes to finance the Spanish-American War. Wilson raised the top income tax rate to 77% to afford WWI. Taxes were raised, multiple times, to help the nation pay for WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Even the first President Bush raised taxes after the first war with Iraq to keep the deficit from spiraling out of control. It was simply understood — responsible leaders from both parties realized that wars were expensive, and had to be paid for.What we saw from George W. Bush and Republican lawmakers during his two terms was without precedent in American history — policymakers cut taxes during a war, ran huge deficits, and effectively asked future generations to pay for our current national security agenda. The two current ongoing conflicts have cost $1 trillion and counting. If the Obama administration sends an additional 30,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, it would cost about $30 billion per year over existing spending on the wars.The question I have for our two resident right wing clowns is very straightforward — do they expect future generations to pick up the tab, or do they support higher taxes now to pay for the conflict?

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

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