Public Support for Afghan Mission Slips

Sep 22, 2009

Public support for keeping U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan has declined since June and Americans express decidedly mixed views about whether the United States is making progress in reducing civilian casualties, defeating the Taliban militarily and establishing democracy in Afghanistan.
   
Nonetheless, a sizable majority of the public (76%) views the possibility of the Taliban regaining control of Afghanistan as a major threat to the well-being of the United States. In fact, nearly as many regard the Taliban regaining control of Afghanistan as a major threat as say that about Iran possibly developing nuclear weapons (82%).

Currently, half of Americans (50%) say military troops should remain in Afghanistan until the situation has stabilized, while 43% favor removing U.S. and NATO troops as soon as possible. In June, 57% favored keeping U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, while 38% favored their removal as soon as possible.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Sept. 10-15 among 1,006 adults finds that most Democrats (56%) favor removing troops from Afghanistan as soon as possible. Just 37% of Democrats say U.S. and NATO troops should remain in the country, down somewhat from the 45% who said this in June. By contrast, Republicans by a wide margin (71% to 25%) continue to favor maintaining U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. Opinion among independents mirrors that of the population as a whole; currently, 51% favor keeping U.S. and NATO troops in the country while 43% are opposed.

Read the full report Public Support for Afghan Mission Slips on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.

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