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Public Support of Afghan War Drops Sharply

At the same time that the US and NATO are explicitly setting the end date in Afghanistan later and later into the decade, a new poll from Quinnipiac shows that public support for the war has completely collapsed. A majority of Americans now opposed continued involvement in Afghanistan. The ideological lines on this issue are interesting:

American voters say 50 – 44 percent that the U.S. should not be involved in Afghanistan, the first time the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds more voters opposed to the war. This compares to a September 9 survey in which voters said 49 – 41 percent that the U.S. was doing the right thing in Afghanistan.

Support for President Barack Obama’s policy in Afghanistan turns the political landscape upside down. Democrats say 62 – 33 percent the United States should not be there, even though they strongly support President Obama heavily on virtually all other issues. Republicans, who oppose Obama on most issues, back the war 64 – 31 percent. Independent voters say 54 – 40 percent the United States should not be in Afghanistan.

Military families are divided, as 49 percent believe the U.S. is doing the right thing in Afghanistan while 47 percent say the U.S. should not be involved.

“President Barack Obama is in somewhat of a tenuous position politically on the Afghan war. If Republicans should desert him, he’d find himself with a very unpopular war on his hands,” said Brown.

It’s telling how split military families are on the issue.

Considering that the Minority Leader of the Senate has as his primary priority to make Barack Obama a one-term President, I can’t imagine he and the rest of the party isn’t thinking along these lines, to criticize the President’s handling of the war and leaving him with no allies for the policy. This is very dangerous territory for the President.

Meanwhile, David Petraeus, who sharply criticized Hamid Karzai’s denouncement of night raids and the aggressive military presence he’s ushered into the country, met with Karzai and got him to reluctantly endorse the night raids. I’m sure that involved no threats or promises whatsoever. The night raids have engendered anger from the Afghan public, whose opinion of the war is tracking downward much like the American public.

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David Dayen

David Dayen