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Afghanistan

Trend Since 2001: Was U.S. Military Action in Afghanistan a Mistake?

Trend: Americans' Opinions of Afghanistan

Trend: Americans' Opinions of Afghanistan

Trend Since 2001: Was U.S. Military Action in Afghanistan a Mistake?

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In general, how would you say things are going for the U.S. in Afghanistan -- [ROTATED: very well, moderately well, moderately badly, (or) very badly]?

Very
well

Moder-
ately
well

Moder-
ately
badly

Very
badly

No
opinion

Total
well

Total
badly

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

2011 May 5-8

6

45

33

12

4

51

45

2011 Mar 25-27

3

44

35

14

4

47

49

2010 Nov 19-21

3

42

38

16

2

45

54

2010 Jul 27-Aug 1

1

33

42

20

4

34

62

2010 Jul 8-11 ^

1

36

43

17

4

37

60

2009 Nov 20-22

2

30

45

21

2

32

66

2009 Aug 31-Sep 2

4

34

45

16

2

38

61

2009 Jul 10-12 ^

4

50

31

12

2

54

43

2009 Jan 30-Feb 1

4

40

38

14

5

44

52

2008 Aug 21-23 ^

6

35

39

16

4

41

55

2008 Jul 25-27

5

41

33

18

3

46

51

2006 Sep 15-17

6

43

30

16

5

49

46

^ Asked of a half sample

Next we have some questions about Afghanistan. As you may know, President Obama on Wednesday announced plans to withdraw 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan this year, 20,000 more by the end of summer 2012, and the remainder by the end of 2014. In general, do you favor or oppose this plan?

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

2011 Jun 25-26

72%

23

5

What is your view of withdrawing 30,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan over the next 15 months -- do you think that number is too high, about right, or too low?

Too high

About right

Too low

No opinion

2011 Jun 25-26

19%

43

29

10

Which comes closest to your view about the timetable President Obama has set for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan -- you agree with that timetable, you think the U.S. should withdraw its troops sooner than the president specified, or you do not think the U.S. should set a timetable for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan?

Agree with
timetable

Should
withdraw
sooner

Should not
set timetable
for withdrawal

No opinion

2011 Jun 25-26

30%

33

31

7

How worried are you that the costs of the war in Afghanistan will make it more difficult for the government to address the problems facing the United States at home -- very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried or not worried at all?

Very
worried

Somewhat
worried

Not too
worried

Not worried
at all

No opinion

2011 Jun 25-26

26%

41

19

10

3

2009 Dec 2

32%

41

16

10

2

How worried are you that that withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan will make the United States more vulnerable to terrorist attacks -- very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried or not worried at all?

Very
worried

Somewhat
worried

Not too
worried

Not worried
at all

No opinion

2011 Jun 25-26

11%

32

33

22

2

2009 Dec 2

19%

36

27

16

2

How confident are you that the government of Afghanistan will be able to handle the responsibility for making the country secure after most U.S. forces are withdrawn -- very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident or not confident at all?

Very
confident

Somewhat
confident

Not too
confident

Not confident
at all

No opinion

2011 Jun 25-26

5%

31

33

26

5

Which comes closer to your view -- [ROTATED: the U.S. has accomplished its mission in Afghanistan and should bring its troops home, (or) the U.S. still has important work to do in Afghanistan and should maintain its troops there]?

Has
accomplished
mission

Still has
important
work to do

No
opinion

%

%

%

2011 May 5-8

59

36

5

Next, how important do you think what happens in each of the following countries is to the United States today -- would you say it is vitally important, important but not vital, not too important, or not at all important? First, how about what happens in … [RANDOM ORDER]?

Afghanistan

Vitally
important

Important,
not vital

Not too
important

Not at all
important

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2011 Feb 2-5

51

30

13

5

2

2007 Feb 1-4

54

30

11

3

3

As you may know, President Obama plans to complete withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year 2014. Which comes closest to your view -- [ROTATED: you agree with the timetable of removing U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, you think the U.S. should complete withdrawing combat troops from Afghanistan before the end of 2014, (or) you think the U.S. should not set a timetable and keep combat troops in Afghanistan as long as needed to achieve its objectives there]?

Agree with
2014 timetable

Troops
should be
withdrawn
sooner

U.S. should not
set timetable

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

2010 Nov 19-21

20

38

40

2

How worried are you that the costs of the war in Afghanistan will make it more difficult for the government to address the problems facing the United States at home -- very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried, or not worried at all?

Very
worried

Somewhat
worried

Not too
worried

Not
worried
at all

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2010 Nov 19-21

31

37

21

10

*

* Less than 0.5%

If you had to choose, which do you think is better for the U.S. -- [ROTATED: to keep a significant number of troops in Afghanistan until the situation there gets better, even if that takes many years, (or) to set a timetable for removing troops from Afghanistan and to stick to that timetable regardless of what is going on in Afghanistan at the time]?

Keep troops in
Afghanistan until
situation
gets better

Set timetable
for removing
troops from
Afghanistan

No
opinion

2010 Jul 27-Aug 1

38%

57

5

(Asked of those who say it is better for the U.S. to set a timetable for removing troops from Afghanistan) Do you think the United States should withdraw all of its troops from Afghanistan as rapidly as possible, starting now, or should the U.S. set a timetable that calls for a more gradual withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan?

BASED ON ADULTS who FAVOR a timetable for removing U.S. troops from Afghanistan

Withdraw troops
as soon as
possible

Set timetable
for gradual
withdrawal

No
opinion

2010 Jul 27-Aug 1

33%

66

1

COMBINED RESPONSES: BASED ON FULL SAMPLE OF NATIONAL ADULTS

2010 Jul 27-Aug 1

%

Keep troops in Afghanistan until situation gets better

38

Set timetable for removing troops from Afghanistan

57

(Withdraw troops as soon as possible)

(19)

(Set timetable for gradual withdrawal)

(38)

(Unsure)

(*)

No opinion

5

* Less than 0.5%

Next, how closely are you following the news that thousands of classified documents about the war in Afghanistan were leaked to an Internet site that published the documents -- very closely, somewhat closely, not too closely, or not at all?

Very
closely

Some-
what
closely

Not too
closely

Not at
all

No
opinion

2010 Jul 27-Aug 1

16%

37

25

21

1

As you may know, the documents about the war in Afghanistan were leaked to a website called "Wikileaks." Do you think it was right or wrong for that website to publish those documents?

Right

Wrong

No opinion

2010 Jul 27-Aug 1

25%

66

9

Which of the following would you like to see President Obama do -- [ROTATED: increase the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan by the roughly 40,000 the U.S. commanding general there has recommended, increase the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan but by a smaller amount than the 40,000 the U.S. commanding general there has recommended, keep the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan the same as now, (or)begin to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan]?

Increase
by 40,000
troops

Increase
by less
than
40,000
troops

Keep
number
the same
as now

Begin to
withdraw
troops

No
opinion

2009 Nov 20-22

37%

10

9

39

5

2009 Nov 5-8

35%

7

7

44

7

As you may know, this week Barack Obama ordered the deployment of 17,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Do you approve or disapprove of this decision?

(Asked of those who approve of sending 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan) If Barack Obama later decides to send 13,000 more troops to Afghanistan in addition to the 17,000 he has already authorized, would you approve or disapprove?

(Asked of those who disapprove of sending 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan) Which of the following best describes the reason why you disapprove of sending 17,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan-- you think the U.S. should maintain the current number of troops it has in Afghanistan, you think the U.S. should reduce the number of troops it has in Afghanistan, or you think the U.S. should withdraw all of its troops from Afghanistan?

COMBINED RESPONSES

2009 Feb 20-22

%

Approve of sending 17,000 more troops

65

(Would approve of sending 13,000 more troops later)

(50)

(Would not approve of sending more troops later)

(15)

Disapprove of sending 17,000 more troops

33

(Should maintain current number of troops)

(6)

(Should reduce number of troops)

(9)

(Should withdraw all troops)

(17)

(Should send more than 17,000 troops now)

(1)

(Unspecified reason for disapproving)

(*)

No opinion

2

* Less than 0.5%

Do you think the United States will or will not be able to establish a stable enough situation in Afghanistan so that it can withdraw most U.S. troops from that country within the next three years?

(Asked of those who think U.S. will not be able to establish stable situation in Afghanistan within next three years) Which do you think is more likely to happen in Afghanistan over the next three years -- [ROTATED: it will be a stalemate with neither the United States nor the Taliban winning, (or) the Taliban will regain control of Afghanistan and the United States will be forced to withdraw its troops]?

COMBINED RESPONSES

2009 Feb 20-22

%

U.S. will establish stable situation within three years

49

U.S. will not establish stable situation

46

(Will have stalemate between U.S. and Taliban)

(31)

(Taliban will regain control, U.S. will withdraw)

(11)

(Unsure)

(4)

No opinion

4

If you had to choose, which do you think is better for the U.S. -- [ROTATED: to keep a significant number of troops in Afghanistan until the situation there gets better, even if that takes many years, (or) to set a timetable for removing troops from Afghanistan and to stick to that timetable regardless of what is going on in Afghanistan at the time]?

Keep troops
until situation
gets better

Set timetable
for removing
troops

No
opinion

%

%

%

2009 Jan 30-Feb 1

48

47

5

(Asked of those who favor a timetable for removing U.S. troops from Afghanistan) For how many more years do you think the United States should have a significant number of troops in Afghanistan? [OPEN-ENDED]

BASED ON THOSE WHO FAVOR A TIMETABLE FOR WITHDRAWING U.S. TROOPS FROM AFGHANISTAN

2009 Jan 30-Feb 1

%

One year or less

34

Two years

31

Three years

14

Four-five years

10

More than five years

2

No opinion

9

Mean

2.9 years

Median

2 years

COMBINED RESPONSES: BASED ON NATIONAL ADULTS

Oppose
timetable

Favor
timetable
of 2 years
or less

Favor
timetable
of more
than 2
years

Favor
timetable,
unspecified
length

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2009 Jan 30-Feb 1

48

31

12

4

5

What should be the primary goal for the United States in Afghanistan -- [ROTATED: building a stable democratic government in Afghanistan (or) weakening terrorists' ability to stage attacks against the United States]?

Stable
democratic
government

Weaken
terrorists'
ability to
stage
attacks

Both
equally
(vol.)

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

2009 Jan 30-Feb 1

30

54

11

5

(vol.) = Volunteered response

If the United States and its allies withdrew their forces from Afghanistan, do you think Afghanistan will or will not fall under control of the Taliban?

Yes, fall under
Taliban control

No, will not

No opinion

%

%

%

2009 Jan 30-Feb 1

70

21

9

(Asked of a half sample) Would you favor or oppose sending additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan to fight al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist operations in that country?

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

%

%

%

2008 Jul 25-27 ^

59

38

3

2007 Aug 3-5 ^

56

38

6

^ Asked of a half sample

(Asked of a half sample) Would you favor or oppose moving U.S. troops from Iraq to Afghanistan in order to fight al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist operations in Afghanistan?

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

%

%

%

2008 Jul 25-27 ^

57

36

7

2007 Aug 3-5 ^

52

37

10

^ Asked of a half sample

If you had to choose, which is the more important war for the United States -- [ROTATED: the war in Iraq (or) the war in Afghanistan]?

Iraq

Afghanistan

Both
equally (vol.)

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

2008 Jul 25-27

38

44

10

8

(vol.) = Volunteered response

Do you approve or disapprove of U.S. military action in Afghanistan?

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

%

%

%

2003 Dec 5-7 ^

71

25

4

2002 Sep 2-4

83

13

4

2002 Mar 8-9 †

91

7

2

2002 Jan 25-27

89

9

2

2001 Dec 6-9

88

9

3

2001 Nov 26-27

92

6

2

2001 Nov 2-4

86

11

3

2001 Oct 19-21

88

10

2

^ Based on a half sample

† WORDING: Do you approve or disapprove of the current U.S. military action in the war on terrorism?

Which comes closer to your view -- [ROTATED: the U.S. accomplishments in Afghanistan will be a success even if Osama bin Laden is not captured, (or) the U.S. accomplishments in Afghanistan will not be a success until Osama bin Laden is captured]?

Success

Not a
success

Both/
Neither
(vol.)

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

2003 Dec 5-7 ^

42

50

5

3

2002 Jul 5-8

38

50

8

4

2002 Mar 8-9

47

48

4

1

2002 Jan 11-14

44

50

4

2

2001 Nov 26-27

41

55

2

2

^ Based on a half sample

(vol.) = Volunteered response

If you had to choose, which of the following would you say is the most important goal of the U.S. military action in Afghanistan -- [ROTATED: destroying terrorist operations in Afghanistan, (or) capturing or killing Osama bin Laden, (or) removing the Taliban from power in Afghanistan]?

Destroying
terrorist
operations

Capturing
or killing
bin Laden

Removing
the Taliban
from power

Other
(vol.)

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2001 Oct 19-21

41

25

29

3

2

(vol.) = Volunteered response

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