Afghanistan: Facing Reverse Coalitions

Health care and the economy have been front and center for several months now.  However, bubbling up in the background is the coming debate over whether to increase troop levels in Afghanistan and our latest NBC/WSJ poll* reveals the coalitional challenge President Obama faces on this issue.

On the surface, the public is fairly pessimistic about our progress there to date with 45% saying the war in Afghanistan against the Taliban and Al Qaeda has been successful but 50% saying it has been unsuccessful. Looking forward, Americans express even less faith – just 28% say they feel more confident the war will come to a successful conclusion versus 59% who say they are less confident. 

And, when it comes to increasing troops, Americans seem conflicted, or perhaps in favor of maintaining the status quo.  A straight up-and-down question produces majority opposition (51%) to increasing troop level while 44% support it; but a majority (55%) also say we should NOT have an immediate and orderly withdrawal of troops, while 38% say we should.

As we’ve seen in our research on attitudes towards the war in Iraq, this issue results in significant gender and generational gaps.  Men support an increase in troops (53% support, 43% oppose), and women oppose it (35% support, 59% oppose).  Americans under age 50 oppose sending additional troops (35% support, 62% oppose) while those age 50 or over support it by 52% to 42%. 

But, what’s more interesting in this data is the reverse coalitions this issue creates.  Republicans tend to be more optimistic about current progress (62% successful, 36% unsuccessful) than Democrats (37% successful, 57% unsuccessful), and a majority of Republicans support an increase in troops (60% support, 34% oppose) while a majority of Democrats oppose it (30% support, 67% oppose).  Independents are evenly divided (49% support, 50% oppose).

As this debate develops, President Obama may find himself in a tight spot. Does he say no to his generals on the ground who recently requested 40,000 additional troops so that he can keep his Democratic Base happy; or does he stand by what he committed to in his presidential campaign when he talked about Afghanistan as a “necessary” war to which he would devote additional resources? 

 *National survey of 1,005 adults conducted September 17-19, 2009.(Public Opinion Strategies partners with Peter D. Hart Research Associates to conduct the NBC/WSJ polls. Neither Peter D. Hart Research Associates nor NBC/WSJ are responsible for these conclusions.)

Similar Articles

  • Public Education Update
    read more

  • Americans See China And Russia As Adversaries Posing Two Different Threats
    read more

  • A New Look At Ideology
    read more

  • Is social media your friend or a frenemy?
    read more

  • Trump’s numbers tied for his peak high as impeachment talk looms
    read more

Public Opinion Strategies helped us to clarify what we wanted to learn and then conducted research and analysis that shed light even beyond the questions we set out to ask. They were very receptive to our suggestions, responsive to our queries, and flexible when we needed them to be.

Public Opinion Strategies has consistently offered unparalleled advice and spot-on polling that has shaped how and where we spent money and deploy key resources. Additionally, they have always been an excellent steward of limited campaign resources, ensuring we spend wisely and not a dollar more than necessary in order to get the information we need.

Robert Blizzard and Public Opinion Strategies did a great job for us throughout our successful campaign for Congress. Robert gave us accurate data, spot on analysis, and professional advice, all of which were essential to our victory.

Public Opinion Strategies is one of our go-to pollsters when it comes to testing public support for bond ballot measures and other initiative proposals. They are available to provide ongoing consultation with regard to crafting of ballot questions, public outreach messaging, and related efforts.

ACLI has worked with Public Opinion Strategies for decades, through several tough industry battles—often ones in which public opinion does not naturally fall on the side of insurers. Yet Bill and his team consistently provide invaluable strategic advice by refining our messages and helping us frame our issues in a way that makes them understandable and persuasive.

The data from Public Opinion Strategies provided important insight and informed our public awareness campaign. We sincerely appreciate their professionalism and expertise in this arena.

Nicole McCleskey and the team at Public Opinion Strategies have been invaluable to me, both during my campaigns and as Governor of the State of New Mexico. It’s not just the accuracy of their numbers, but guiding the overall strategy that makes them so valuable.

Public Opinion Strategies has been a part of our team in Missouri for more than a decade. With their data and guidance, Republicans here were able to attain a majority in the House in 2002 for the first time in fifty years, and we have been able to grow that majority to the point that we now have a record, veto-proof majority.

In my tenure at two leading business associations, facing huge and complex consumer issues, I have benefitted enormously from the objective advisory skills of Bill and his team. They do their homework, they are rigorous, dispassionate and thoughtful. Turning questions into answers is a clever tag, but it’s also an apt description of the professional talents of the firm.

I consider Public Opinion Strategies to be a part of our team. That is the way we have always worked. They have helped us to understand our needs and fashioned research solutions to meet those needs. They have helped us to meet killer deadlines by being flexible, executing rapidly, and insuring quality. Teamwork is the best way to describe it.

Accuracy, speed, and deep knowledge of key issues and public sentiment are the hallmarks of quality opinion research, and on these measures Public Opinion Strategies consistently delivers. I have had the pleasure of working with Public Opinion Strategies for more than 15 years on dozens of issues, and they are undoubtedly the gold standard.

Public Opinion Strategies’ track record of success and wealth of experience in political campaigns and issue advocacy are why they are one of the most trusted and well respected public opinion firms in Washington, D.C. Their insights and perspectives have helped to inform a wide array of public affairs activities across multiple industries.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :