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Americans Question Goals of War in Afghanistan

Following President Obama’s surprise visit to Afghanistan, many Americans question what the military goals are in that war and think history will not look kindly on U.S. efforts there.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 27% of Likely U.S. Voters believe America’s mission in Afghanistan will be judged a success in the long run. This is the first time Rasmussen Reports has asked this question about Afghanistan, but the finding matches the most pessimistic voter assessment of the Iraq war in a similar question asked from November 2006 through July 2009.

Forty-two percent (42%) of voters think the U.S. mission in Afghanistan will be viewed as a failure, while 32% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Perhaps one explanation for these views is the finding that just 28% feel the United States has a clearly defined military mission in Afghanistan. Forty-nine percent (49%) say the mission in the nine-year-old war is not clearly defined, and 23% more are not sure.

Voter confidence in the outcome of the War in Afghanistan has fallen to a new low: Only 34% of voters now believe it is possible for the United States to win the war there.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters nationwide was conducted on December 5-6, 2010 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.

Who’s more critical of how the war in Afghanistan is playing out – men or women? Republicans or Democrats? Become a Platinum member and find out.

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