I hope nobody in the Administration attributes these new poll numbers to Wikileaks, or any other single incident (in fact, on that front, the Administration has won; 2/3 of those polled in this report oppose the publication of the Wikileaks Afghan war logs). People are responding to nine years of war and few signs of any movement in it. They see a President talking about “stopping the Taliban’s momentum” consistently for the last 18 months, indicating they have all the momentum in the fight. They cannot find a strategy, or square the notion of denying “safe havens” to Al Qaeda, when they are told that fewer than 300 Al Qaeda members live in the region, and the last several attempted terror attacks have come from places like Somalia and Yemen. And they see no partner in the ruling government to justify 95,000 troops and more casualties than at any time since 2001. They are tired of the beating of the war drums.
Public support for President Obama’s Afghanistan war policy has plummeted amid a rising U.S. death toll and the unauthorized release of classified military documents, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows.
Support for Obama’s management of the war fell to 36%, down from 48% in a February poll. Now, a record 43% also say it was a mistake to go to war there after the terrorist attacks in 2001.
The decline in support contributed to the lowest approval ratings of Obama’s presidency. Amid a lengthy recession, more Americans support his handling of the economy (39%) than the war.
The economy is dragging everything else down. Even Obama’s numbers on Iraq are low, despite him pulling out on precisely the schedule handed to him in the status of forces agreement. But the numbers on Afghanistan are BELOW the numbers on the economy. People are in a nasty mood right now, and they don’t understand why wars keep endlessly slogging along. They don’t understand why they economy keeps endlessly slogging along, and poorly, as well, and they feel frozen in amber, as if the malaise of the past decade will never end.
You haven’t seen this result because of a committed anti-war movement, or mass protests in the streets. It’s just a feeling that people have. And the President is bearing the brunt of that bad feeling.