Even as more voters than ever call for a withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, optimism about America's longest-running war has increased slightly following the killing of Osama bin Laden. Praise for the U.S. military has risen, too.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that just 29% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the situation in Afghanistan will get worse in the next six months. That's down nine points from a month ago and marks the first time the figure has fallen into the 20s in nearly two years of surveying. In prior surveys since July 2009, 33% to 57% of voters have predicted a worsening of things there.
Twenty-seven percent (27%) of voters expect the situation in Afghanistan to improve over the next six months, up eight points from last month and the highest level of confidence measured since March of last year. Another 31% expect the situation to remain about the same. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Ninety-one percent (91%) rate the performance of the U.S. military as good or excellent, including 63% who say the military is doing an excellent job. The latter finding is up from 48% in April and is the highest level of praise measured for the armed forces since regular tracking began in August of last year. Just two percent (2%) say the military is doing a poor job.
Sentiments are more stable when it comes to Iraq. Thirty-two percent (32%) of voters say the situation there will get better in the next six months, up only slightly from last month. But just 21% expect the situation to get worse, the lowest level of pessimism found since March 2009. Another 35% expect the situation to be about the same in six months' time.
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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on May 3-4, 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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