Poll: Public Opposes Afghanistan War — And Favors Sending More Troops

December 23, 2009 4:47 am

A new CNN poll finds a curious result: Overlapping majorities of Americans oppose the Afghanistan War and favor President Obama’s decision to send more troops there.

Respondents were asked: “Do you favor or oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan?” Here the answer is that only 43% favor the war, and 55% oppose it.

But another question: “Regardless of how you feel about the war in general, do you favor or oppose President Obama’s plan to send about 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan in an attempt to stabilize the situation there?” Here it becomes 59% in favor, to 39% against.

The bottom line: Support for sending more troops runs 16 points ahead of support for the war itself. A previous CNN poll a month ago had a similar case of overlapping majorities, though the gap wasn’t as stark then as it is now.

The pollster’s analysis points out that only 18% of respondents think the United States is winning right now. “That may explain the support for Obama’s plan, since a victory is likely to require more troops,” said CNN polling director Keating Holland. “But it may also explain the overall opposition to the war, since Americans tend to dislike losing.”

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