Voters divided on American troop increase in Afghanistan – poll
Of those polled, 45 percent of voters support Trump’s plan to increase troops while 41 percent oppose the step, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll released on Wednesday.
When voters were asked to self-identify along party lines, 68 percent of Republicans supported the increase, with 30 percent of Democrats and 35 percent of independents disagreed, according to the poll.
When asked about how the war in Afghanistan was going, 38 percent of Republicans said the US was winning, compared with 17 percent of Democrats and 17 percent of independents.
When not broken down by political affiliation, overall, 24 percent of voters think the United States is winning the Afghanistan War, while 40 percent think it is losing.
President Trump laid out his plans for Afghanistan in a speech on August 21 in Fort Myer, Arlington, Virginia.
He reversed his previous statements to pull troops out of Afghanistan and said after studying the issue there would be no “rapid exit” from the 16-year war, instead ordering the military to “fight to win” by “killing terrorists.”
“A hasty withdrawal,” Trump said, would create a “vacuum” for terrorists. He argued that “9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history, was planned and directed from Afghanistan because that country was ruled by a government that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists.”
About 2,400 Americans have died in the war, the longest in US history. Trump is the third American president promising to win the war, preceded by George W. Bush, who originally sent troops to Afghanistan, and Barack Obama, who repeatedly vowed to pull them out.
Trump declined to say by how much he would increase the number of US troops, which currently stands at around 8,400.
In the poll, half of voters agree with Trump’s refusal to announce how many soldiers he would add to the war effort “so as not to alert our enemies overseas.”
Just 34 percent think the president should “reveal specific plans to the American people, who have the right to debate the best course of action.”
The poll was conducted August 24-28 and surveyed 1,999 registered voters. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 2 percentage points.