October 15, 2009
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.
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