A sizable majority of Americans support the U.S. military action in Afghanistan, and an even larger number think the action there is important to preventing terrorist attacks against the United States, according to a FOX News poll released Thursday.
Six in 10 Americans think the U.S. military action in Afghanistan is "extremely" (25 percent) or "very" (35 percent) important to stopping terrorists attacks against the U.S., and another 27 percent think it is "somewhat" important.
Few Americans — 9 percent — think the military action in Afghanistan is not at all important to fighting terrorism at home.
Overall, 64 percent of Americans support the U.S. military action in Afghanistan and 27 percent oppose it. There is a huge partisan gap, as 80 percent of Republicans support the action compared to 49 percent of Democrats. Among independents, 66 percent support it.
Previously, when the question was about support for the "U.S. war in Afghanistan," as opposed to the "U.S. military action" the results were notably different: 46 percent were in support and 45 percent opposed (15-16 September 2009).
As a candidate, Barack Obama called Afghanistan a "war of necessity" and made clear his commitment to the U.S. action there. As president, 37 percent of Americans say they think Obama is doing what it takes to win in Afghanistan, while half — 50 percent — say he isn't.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has said the war would fail without additional troops.
Views among Americans are evenly split on how to proceed: 43 percent think the right thing to do is send more troops and do what it takes to win in Afghanistan, and the exact same number think the troops should come home as soon as possible (43 percent). Politically, only among Democrats is there majority opposition to added troop strength (59 percent).
In a related question asked earlier this month, 41 percent of Americans supported sending additional troops to Afghanistan and 50 percent were opposed (15-16 September 2009).
Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from September 29 to September 30. The poll has a 3-point error margin.
People largely put their faith in military leaders over the president to decide what's next. In fact, 66 percent of Americans say they trust U.S. military commanders more to decide next steps in Afghanistan — that's more than three times as many as say they trust the president more (20 percent).
Nine of 10 Republicans say they trust military commanders more to decide how to proceed in Afghanistan, as do more than two-thirds of independents (68 percent). Among Democrats, 45 percent say they trust military commanders more and 37 percent the president.