Poll: Four in 5 approve of Obama's plan for Afghanistan drawdown
About four in 5 Americans approve of President Obama's plan to bring troops home from Afghanistan and more than half would approve an even bigger withdrawal, a new CBS News/New York Times Poll finds.
In the survey, conducted between June 24-28, Americans overwhelmingly expressed their approval of Mr. Obama's announcement last week that he intends to withdraw about a third of the 100,000 U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan by the fall of 2012. According to the poll, 79 percent of Americans - including a majority of Republicans, Democrats, and independents - approved, while just 17 percent disapproved.
In fact, most Americans do not think Mr. Obama's proposed troop withdrawal goes far enough. Fifty-nine percent of Americans think even more than the proposed one-third of U.S. troops in Afghanistan should be withdrawn.
Still, for the first time since Mr. Obama took office, a majority (53 percent) of Americans say the Afghanistan conflict is going well. In March, only 44 percent of Americans said the same - a figure which was at the time outweighed by the 49 percent of those who said they thought things were going badly.
But while most Americans expressed confidence that the war in Afghanistan is now going well, they appear ambivalent about America's mission there. Fifty-eight percent of Americans say the U.S. should not be involved in Afghanistan, the highest percentage recorded since the question was first asked in September 2009. Only thirty-five percent of Americans said they thought the U.S. was doing the "right thing" there.
Furthermore, most Americans don't think the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan will have a significant impact on the threat of terrorism against the U.S. Twenty-six percent said they thought the threat would increase, but 65 percent said the threat would likely remain the same. Six percent said they thought the threat will decrease.
Despite Americans' general support Mr. Obama's proposed withdrawal, however, the survey suggests that they don't necessarily think that the U.S. has achieved most of its goals there. Only 36 percent think the killing of bin Laden means the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and the surrounding areas has been completed; 58 percent disagree.
On the question of U.S. military operations in Libya, public opinion remains relatively unchanged in recent weeks: 59 percent of Americans say the U.S. should not be involved there, while 29 percent say America is doing the right thing.
Moreover, most Americans think the Obama administration should have to get congressional authorization in order to continue U.S. military action in Libya - despite the president's recent statements to the contrary. Six in 10 Americans think the President should have to get Congressional authorization.
There are partisan differences, however: 81 percent of Republicans think the president needs Congress to approve military actions in Libya, compared to half of Democrats.
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This poll was conducted among a random sample of 979 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone June 24-28, 2011. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
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