Reuters’ Toby Zakaria will be live blogging the Obama speech on Tuesday night.
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.
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.
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.
President Barack Obama summoned his war council today for what may be a pivotal meeting as he decides what to do in Afghanistan. While Obama weighs up his options on whether to send in more troops — with most money on about 30,000 more — he might also glance at the latest round of public opinion polls on Afghanistan.One by the Pew Research Center put Obama’s favorable job rating on Afghanistan at 36 percent, sharply down from 49 percent in July.On troop levels in Afghanistan, 40 percent say there should be fewer U.S. soldiers, 32 percent approve of an increase while 19 percent say current troop levels are satisfactory.A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released today found that 56 percent of respondents opposed sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan while 42 percent supported additional forces.Which way are you leaning? More troops, less, the same? Stay, go, the status quo? As commander-in-chief, will Obama go the way of Goldilocks and take the middle road, or will there be a surprise?Click here for more Reuters political coveragePhoto credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama making statement about Fort Hood shootings)
President Barack Obama walked in the rain among the graves of U.S. casualties from the Iraq and Afghan wars at Arlington National Cemetery and took an unscheduled detour into section 60, a thicket of simple white headstones, to mark Veterans Day.
Larry Downing is a Reuters senior staff photographer assigned to the White House. He shares that duty with three other staff photographers. He has lived in Washington since 1977 and has been assigned to cover the White House, since 1978. President Barack Obama is the sixth president Larry has photographed.
As President Barack Obama nears a decision on whether to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, some experts say he should consider the signal his decision will send about his broader commitment to the war, which has grown increasingly unpopular at home.
Absolutely they are on good terms…