10/15: President Loses Support in Handling of War in Afghanistan

Registered voters nationwide divide about President Barack Obama’s management of the war in Afghanistan.  43% approve, and 45% disapprove.  12% are unsure.  The electorate’s confidence in the president’s handling of this issue has been shaken.  When Marist last asked this question in June, nearly six in ten — 57% — backed the president on this question.  Just 24% disapproved.

map of Afghanistan


The change in opinion has occurred across party lines.  Currently, 62% of Democrats agree with how the president is dealing with this issue.  This proportion is down from 75% in June.  24% of Republicans approve of the president’s actions in Afghanistan.  Back in June, the GOP was much more divided with 41% reporting they approved of Mr. Obama’s management.  And, Independents have also had a change of heart.  51% of these voters currently disapprove of the president’s handling of the military situation in Afghanistan.  An almost identical proportion of Independents — 52% — approved of the president’s tacticsfour months ago.

Table: Handling the War in Afghanistan

About Four in Ten Voters Want Troop Levels in Afghanistan Increased

41% of registered voters think U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan should be increased.  32% want that number to be decreased, and 19% think it should remain the same.  8% are unsure.

How does opinion fall along party lines?  A majority of Republicans — 57% — would like more troops in the region while 22% want those numbers to be reduced.  16% believe the levels should stay where they are.  Democrats are a different story.  41% want the number of troops decreased while 24% would like to see additional recruits deployed.  The same proportion of Democrats — 24% — wants the level of U.S. troop commitment to remain the same.  Where do Independents stand?  47% want the number of troops increased, and 31% would like them decreased.  15% say they should be kept at current levels.

Table: Troop Levels in Afghanistan

Marist Poll Methodology