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While Obama patiently ponders Afghan policy, impatient Americans are already deciding: poll

As the globe-trotting President Obama presumably ponders his military options in the eight-year war in Afghanistan that isn't going that well, some ominous new poll numbers just out this afternoon for him to include.

Although the freshman president maintains that he's still patiently considering the options presented to him in late August and other questions asked since, any decision and announcement have been postponed further until the end of his latest foreign junket.

Afghan war Fighting

Meanwhile, the American public is already impatiently indicating its crumbling support for the conflict, the casualties, the financial costs and the idea of boosting our troop commitment in that troubled land.

Fifty-two percent of the 1,001 adult Americans polled Nov. 12-15 now say the war there has not been worth the cost, down 13 points in the last 11 months.

That's not a good sign for a president heading into a likely decision to increase that commitment -- and facing crucial midterm elections next year.

According to the new ABC News/Washington Post Poll, only 44% now say the war has been worth it, the smallest support percentage in nearly three years. The poll has a margin of error of +/-3.5%.

Once, Obama's war policies were his strongest poll suit (63%). Now, only 45% approve of Obama's handling of Afghanistan; more (48%) don't. His war support among independents, a crucial ingredient in the Democrat's election victory 54 weeks ago, has slipped to 39%.

Support for additional commitments is particularly weak among young voters and women.

Obama, like President Bush before him in both Afghanistan and Iraq, has made a main argument that it's better to fight terrorism over there and deny terrorists safe training and staging havens than endure repeat 9/11 attacks on the homeland.

Ominously, for Obama, however, less than a quarter of Americans now buy that argument. Nearly two-thirds (64%) currently say the risk of terrorism at home is the same whether we continue to fight there or withdraw.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: EPA

Comments () | Archives (9)

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Obama needs to start making short sighted policy decisions that are based on poll numbers rather that what is in the best interest of the country.
Then he might start regaining some of the dirt stupid voters who are currently pulling away from him.

Obama could, like Bush, whip up support for the war in Afghanistan by claiming the Taliban is hiding WMD's. He could turn to fear mongering and outright lying. But, since he's not the disgusting human being his predecessor was, he probably will not do that.

Sean, Obama just needs to start making decisions, period. History does not repeat itself and Afghanistan is not Vietnam. Certainly there is a potential for quagmire but the consequences of a Taliban victory are potentially disastrous, no matter what HuffPo says. If Obama himself had not relentlessly beat the drums for this "good war" during the election he might have some credibility now for disengaging. But the hour of decision is finally upon him and slipping away. It's clear he wants to finesse it away with manipulative double-talk just as he does with everything else. But his penchant for banal rhetoric is no of use to him in this situation. And frankly, the guy doesn't seem to have much else going for him.

What is the standard deviation of your stats? I love the way pundits and politicians question 1,000 of 300,000,000 and call their results a majority.

Keep up the good work.

LOL Some of you are still blaming Bush for obama being lame. If we leave Afghanistan, wouldn't that make it more likely for the taliban to get Pakistans nukes? Here's another thought....obama is ignoring his General's advice on more troops and leaving our troops with their pants down.They need support! Instead their commander in chief was out to lunch. If you were over there fighting everyday and seeing your friends die, would you be concerned why the commander in chief has forgotten you? I agree with "dirt stupid voter", he needs to make a decision......PERIOD.

americans are also quietly making another decision, this one on obama himself, whose dithering and seeming inability to make a "tough choice" doesn't bode well for him.

I've supported our efforts in Afghanistan because the consequences of Obama surrendering it to the Taliban and Terrorists are nearly unimaginable especially if Pakistan with its nuclear arsenal also falls to them. However, I now feel we should bring all the troops home now. Not because the fight isn't worth fighting, but our troops don't deserve to be in harms way without the support Obama's general says they need, and with a Commander in Chief that can't do anything but dither, and dither, and dither. We can't ask our troops to fight for a cause their Commander in Chief doesn't support. Obama is just playing politics with their lives, and they don't deserve that. So bring them home and get them ready for the next fight. Obama's foreign policy of indecision, weakness, and appeasement guarantees that we will need all our fighting men and women in top form in the near future, and probably to defend our homeland!!!!

Uh. You guys know that you used a photograph of BRITISH soldiers to illustrate this article?

A.D.D America---

The idea that we can solve problems over nite since we elected a new childish, brattish and socially naive.

We continue to delude ourselves that healthcare, jobs and Afghanistan are easy problems to solve....these issues were a generation in the making and to believe they are solvable in a much shorter amount of time is bizzare...

But don't take my word for it ask our neighbors they say the same thing about our culture and our attitude.

Obama knows this and he forges ahead with his plan...a little patience please..."Rome was not built in a day" and neither will our country solve its problems in that amount of time...can we please come back to reality!


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
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