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52% Want Troops Home from Afghanistan Within a Year

Monday, March 07, 2011

A majority of voters, for the first time, support an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan or the creation of a timetable to bring them all home within a year.

A new Ramussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 31% of Likely U.S. Voters now say all troops should be brought home from Afghanistan immediately, while another 21% say a firm timetable should be established to bring all troops home within a year’s time. The combined total of 52% who want the troops home within a year is a nine-point jump from 43% last September. Just 37% felt that way in September 2009.

Only 34% of voters now think there should be no timetable for withdrawal. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Republicans have traditionally been more supportive than Democrats of continuing the mission in Afghanistan, but now 37% of GOP voters favor bringing home the troops within a year, compared to 24% six months ago. Seventy-three percent (73%) of voters in President Obama’s party favor that timetable, a view shared by 45% of voters not affiliated with either of the major political parties.

Twenty-seven percent (27%) of all voters think the U.S. mission in Afghanistan will eventually be judged a success. Thirty-one percent (31%) predict that it will be regarded as a failure, but that’s down 11 points from 42% in early December.  A substantial 41% now are not sure.

But 50% still believe, looking back, that the United States should have gotten involved in Afghanistan. Thirty-four percent (34%) now say America should not have become involved in what has become the nation’s longest-running war. Sixteen percent (16%) are undecided. These results are the mirror image of public perceptions about the war  in Iraq.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters nationwide was conducted on March 4-5, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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