Poll: Americans’ Support for Afghanistan War Drops Substantially

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Photo: John Moore/2011 Getty Images

In the wake of Sergeant Robert Bales's killing spree (as well as payments to victims' families), the burning of Korans by military forces, and violent protests that ensued, the New York Times and CBS conducted a poll that shows Americans' support for the war in Afghanistan is falling among both Democrats and Republicans.

The Times reports on the poll conducted by telephone between March 21 and 25:

The survey found that more than two-thirds of those polled — 69 percent — thought that the United States should not be at war in Afghanistan. Just four months ago, 53 percent said that Americans should no longer be fighting in the conflict, more than a decade old.

The increased disillusionment was even more pronounced when respondents were asked their impressions of how the war was going. The poll found that 68 percent thought the fighting was going “somewhat badly” or “very badly,” compared with 42 percent who had those impressions in November.

And while that sentiment prevails among both major parties, Republicans are a bit more likely to want to stay in Afghanistan "for as long as it would take to stabilize the situation." The pollsters write: "3 in 10 [Republicans] said the United States should stay, compared with 2 in 10 independents and 1 in 10 Democrats."

In addition, 59 percent of respondents regard the military action in Afghanistan as "not a success," a 10 percent increase over the same measure in October. The poll does not measure to what extent respondents' answers were influenced by the recent setbacks, nor could the poll easily measure such a thing. In any event, those are the numbers.