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Voters Grow Pessimistic Again About Afghanistan, Iraq

Friday, June 10, 2011

With troop withdrawals from Afghanistan scheduled to begin next month, the brief burst of optimism about the war there following the killing of Osama bin Laden appears to be over. 

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 37% of Likely U.S. Voters now expect the situation in Afghanistan to get worse in the next six months. That’s an eight-point drop from a month ago but in keeping with voter sentiments earlier this year.

Still, 26% of voters predict things there will get better over the next six months, 25% now think things will remain about the same, and 12% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Views of the situation in Iraq also were slightly more optimistic last month but have now returned to the levels seen since last fall. Thirty percent (30%) of voters think the situation in Iraq will get better in the next six months, while nearly as many (28%) predict things will get worse there, a seven-point increase from a month ago. Thirty-three percent (33%) expect them to remain about the same.

The latest survey was taken just as the death of five U.S. soldiers in Iraq was in the news. It was the highest U.S. death toll in a single incident there in two years. The United States has 46,000 troops in Iraq now, down from a high of 170,000 in 2007, and is planning to remove the remaining forces by the end of the year.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on June 6-8, 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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