Following President Obama's speech outlining his new strategy, there was a bounce in optimism about the war in Afghanistan. But the bounce has ended and confidence has fallen again. Confidence has also fallen in the broader War on Terror.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 21% of U.S. voters now think the situation in Afghanistan will get better over the next six months. That’s down 13 points from the survey immediately following the president’s speech.
Prior to that, voter confidence that things will get better in Afghanistan ranged from a low of 13% in October to a high of 29% in late June.
Forty-five percent (45%) now believe the situation in Afghanistan will worsen in the next six months, up six points from early December. Still, that’s a modest improvement when compared to attitudes captured from August until the President’s speech.
Following the president’s speech announcing his two-pronged strategy for the war, 53% supported his plan to send another 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, and nearly as many (47%) liked his plan to begin withdrawing troops in 18 months. Put the two together, however, and 37% supported the overall plan, while 38% opposed it.
In his speech, Obama stressed how important it is for America’s NATO allies to pitch in, but only 33% of voters are at least somewhat confident that NATO will do all it can to help the United States win in Afghanistan.
Sixty-two percent (62%) of voters think it will be harder for America to make progress in Afghanistan than it was in Iraq. But 50% agree with the president that Afghanistan is a “just” war.
Following the Christmas Day terrorist attempt on a U.S. airliner, belief that the bad guys are winning the War on Terror is now at its highest level in over two years, and nearly half of voters say America is not safer than it was before 9/11.
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