Support for continued U.S. involvement in Afghanistan has taken a sharply negative turn with 50 percent of Americans saying the U.S. should not be involved while 44 percent believe fighting the war is the right thing to do, according to a Quinnipiac University poll
conducted Nov. 8-15. Six percent were undecided.
In all of Quinnipiac's previous polls on the question this year, at least a plurality of Americans thought U.S. involvement was the right thing. In September, 49 percent said that compared to 41 percent who believed the U.S. shouldn't be involved, with 10 percent undecided. As recently as April, the public supported U.S. involvement by a 56 percent to 36 percent margin, with 8 percent undecided.
Quinnipiac did not delve into the reasons for the increasingly negative view of involvement in Afghanistan. Despite a year in which there have been reports of U.S. military progress, the news has also been full of stories about corruption in the Afghan government and the sometimes hostile stance that Afghan leader Hamid Karzai has taken towards U.S. officials.
President Obama's fellow Democrats say the U.S. shouldn't be involved by a 52 percent to 33 percent margin, with 5 percent undecided, and independents share that view by 54 percent to 40 percent, with 6 percent undecided.
Republicans back U.S. involvement as the right thing by 64 percent to 31 percent, with 6 percent undecided, although GOP critics have questioned Obama's specific policies, such as setting a timetable for the start of withdrawal.
A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll
conducted Nov. 11-15 asked specifically about whether those surveyed approved or disapproved of President Obama's Afghanistan policy, as opposed to the general question about U.S. involvement in the war. Forty-eight percent approved compared to 41 percent who did not, with 8 percent undecided. Last March, 53 percent approved and 35 percent disapproved, with 12 percent undecided.
"President Barack Obama is in somewhat of a tenuous position politically on the Afghan war," said Quinnipiac's Peter Brown. "If Republicans should desert him, he'd find himself with a very unpopular war on his hands."
In the Quinnipiac survey, military households were divided on the U.S. commitment, with 49 percent supporting it, 47 percent opposed and 5 percent undecided.
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