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Pessimism on war but support for U.S. military high and steady; 67% now favor troops on Mexican border

June 2, 2010 |  6:10 am

American soldier in action in Afghanistan

While the favorable opinions of Americans about their commander-in-chief have dwindled since soon after Barack Obama took office last year, a new poll finds the country has a remarkably high -- and steady -- opinion of its military forces.

A new Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adult Americans finds fully three-out-of-four have a favorable opinion of the military, almost exactly the same as the last two years. That number is all the more striking because only 41% believe the ongoing war in Afghanistan is winnable.

About 13% have no opinion about the U.S. military and 12% think unfavorably of American troops.

Republicans are more supportive of the military and slightly more likely to have served in it than members of the president's Democratic party.

But here's an interesting twist in the recent Rasmussen numbers: 67% of U.S. voters believe the country's military should be used to halt illegal immigration on the border with Mexico. Only 18% oppose that idea.

Fifty-eight percent now favor their own state passing legislation similar to Arizona's tough new illegal immigrant measure. up from 55% two weeks ago. Now that both Obama and the president of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, have denounced the Arizona legislation, most Americans say they trust Arizona state officials more than Washington on the immigration issue.

Sixty-eight percent say boycotts of Arizona over the controversial law are not a good idea, three-out-of-four don't think the federal government is doing enough to secure the border and 58% say federal policies actually encourage illegal immigrants.

Oh, and 69% not only think it is OK for a police officer to investigate the immigration status of someone stopped for violation of any law including traffic infractions, 69% say it should be required of a police officer.

Other than that, President Obama seems to have his finger right on the pulse of the American public these days.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Associated Press; CDZ

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