2008 record      

 

A whopping 70% of Americans - including 52% of Democrats as well as 88% of Republicans and 73% of Independents - think the Obama administration does not have a clear plan for Afghanistan, according to the latest IBD/TIPP Poll.

But then, the public itself seems unsure of the best course of action in the nine-year-old conflict.

Americans continue to oppose an immediate troop withdrawal, with even Democrats opposing such an action by 52% to 45%. But in contrast to last month, more now believe the war is unwinnable and oppose sending more troops and resources.

Forty-eight percent are now opposed to sending more troops vs. 44% in favor. In October, 48% backed a troop surge vs. 41% opposed.

However, last month's vote of support came mostly from Republicans, whose pro-surge position jumped to 72% from 45% the month before. That support slipped to 61% in November.

Independents, who opposed sending more troops in August and September, but switched to 45%-42% in favor in October, are once again opposed - 49% to 44%. Democrats oppose a surge 62% vs. 30% - about where they've been all along.

The November poll also asked about a request by U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, for 40,000 more troops. The poll showed a virtual tie, with 45% supporting the request and 46% opposed.

Western troops now in Afghanistan exceed 100,000, with the U.S. accounting for about 62,000. Last spring, President Barack Obama approved boosting the U.S. commitment by 17,000 combat troops and 4,000 trainers.

One reason for the the loss of support for a troop surge may be that 49% of those polled again believe the war can't be won vs. 42% who believe it can. This is similar to the response in September. But in October, 46% thought the war was winnable vs. 44% who didn't.

A majority of Democrats (60%) don't think the war can be won; only 33% think it can. Independents also believe the war is not winnable, but by a narrower 48%-43% margin. Republicans come down 51% to 38% in favor of winnable.

The lack of clear plan for Afghanistan is also affecting the president's grade for his handling of that situation. Only 7% give the president an A and 21% give him a B. Nearly two-thirds give him a C or below - with 27% giving him a C, 17% giving him a D and 23% giving him an F.

The latest poll of 928 Americans was completed on Saturday. The margin of error is three percentage points.

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