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Two polls show unease over Afghanistan among American public

October 7, 2009 | 10:09 am

Afghanwar

As President Obama continues to wrestle with what to do about sending more troops to Afghanistan, two new polls show the American public is unhappy about the choices.

The latest Associated Press-GfK poll shows that public support for the war, now 8 years old, is at 40%, down from 44% in July. Almost seven out of 10 people who describe themselves as Republicans favor sending more troops, while 57% of Democrats oppose such an increase.

Obama and his national security team are examining the possibility of sending as many as 40,000 more American soldiers to Afghanistan. The U.S. has authorized 68,000 troops and NATO 40,000 more.

By 65% to 28%, American voters are willing to use American soldiers to fight terrorism threats from groups in Afghanistan, according to a Quinnipiac University poll of 2,630 U.S. voters released today.

By 49% to 38%, voters said they do not...

... think the United State will be able to eliminate the threat.

The Quinnipiac poll found that American voters, by 52% to 37%, think the United States is doing the right thing in fighting a war in Afghanistan. There was also a sizable racial divide, with whites saying they supported the war by 57% to 32%, while African Americans opposed it by almost the same numbers: 55% to  34%.

Obama and his team have held two sessions about what to do in Afghanistan and today will hold the third of five scheduled meetings. Questions include what should be the U.S. policy toward Afghanistan, where the Taliban are again a serious threat, and how to fight Al Qaeda, now operating from Pakistan.

According to the Quinnipiac poll, American voters, by 55% to 38%, trust Obama to make the right decisions about troop levels in Afghanistan.

Voters also trust the military, 81% to 15%, to make the right recommendations on troop levels, but only 38% said they want troop levels increased in Afghanistan.

–Michael Muskal

Follow Michael Muskal on Twitter at Latimesmuskal

A US Marine from 2/3 Fox company searches an Afghan men while on patrol in Farah Province, southern Afghanistan, on September 23, 2009. As President Barack Obama weighs his options for the Afghan war, some lawmakers and analysts are pushing more modest strategies that would require a smaller US force and rely more on drones. AFP PHOTO/DAVID FURST (Photo credit should read DAVID FURST/AFP/Getty Images)

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