President Barack Obama’s decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan but start withdrawing forces in 2011 was controversial when announced late last year. But the public appears to be warming to this effort.
Prior to the announcement back in November, just 36 percent thought the military effort in Afghanistan was going very or fairly well and 57 percent thought the effort was not going too well or not at all well. This month, a new Pew poll shows these figures almost reversed: Fifty-two percent now think the effort is going very or fairly well, while those with a negative judgment are down to 35 percent.
Reflecting this more positive assessment, Obama’s approval rating on handling the Afghanistan situation has also improved over the time period. Before the decision to send troops was made, 36 percent approved of his handling of Afghanistan, compared to 49 percent who disapproved. In the new Pew poll, his approval ratings have flipped to 51 percent approval and 35 percent disapproval.
The public is well aware the situation in Afghanistan is difficult and no one can predict exactly how the current investment of troops and money in Afghanistan will turn out. But, at least for now, the public appears willing to back an active effort to resolve the situation.
Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis go to the Media and Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.