Fox News Poll: 62 Percent Support U.S. Action in Afghanistan

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While support for the war in Afghanistan remains steady, a majority of American voters want U.S. troops to come home this summer as planned, if not sooner, now that Usama bin Laden is dead.

That’s according to a Fox News poll released Wednesday.

By 62 percent to 32 percent, American voters support the U.S. military action in Afghanistan. That’s unchanged from last year when 62 percent supported it. And, it’s about the same as the 64 percent that supported the action in 2009.

Sizable majorities of Republicans (70 percent) and Democrats (61 percent) support the war. And a slim 51-percent majority of independents supports it. Men (64 percent) and women (60 percent) are about equally likely to back the action in Afghanistan.

Now that bin Laden is gone, 39 percent of voters say they would still stick with the president’s announced July 2011 withdrawal date. Another 25 percent would start removing troops right away. The remaining 33 percent would keep the troops in Afghanistan long as it takes to establish stability in the region.

Democrats are most likely to want to stick with the announced timeline for withdrawal of troops (47 percent), while Republicans are most likely to think troops should stay as long as necessary (46 percent).

President Obama’s handling of Afghanistan is viewed as one of his strengths. Some 57 percent of voters approve of the job he’s doing handling the war, up from 43 percent about seven months ago (October 2010).

The president garners his best ratings on the issue of terrorism: 71 percent of voters approve and 25 percent disapprove. That’s a major improvement since the killing of bin Laden. Previously, 49 percent approved and 41 percent disapproved (July 2010).

President Obama receives his lowest approval marks on his handling of the economy (39 percent) and dealing with the federal deficit (31 percent). These ratings are virtually unchanged since last July, when 38 percent approved of Obama's handling of the economy and 31 percent approved of his handling of the deficit.

Overall, 55 percent of voters approve and 41 percent disapprove of the president’s job performance. The week before the raid on bin Laden, his ratings were split evenly 47-47 (April 25-27).

On a list of top issues, voters rank the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan near the bottom of priorities for the president and Congress. The number one issue by far is the economy (50 percent), followed by the federal deficit (22 percent). Other issues trail far behind: health care (8 percent), terrorism (5 percent), Iraq/Afghanistan (4 percent) and immigration (2 percent).

Click here for full poll results.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 910 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from May 15 to May 17. For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.