CBS News/New York Times Poll For release: March 26, 2012 6:30 PM (ET

)

The Public Sours on the War in Afghanistan
March 21-25, 2012

The latest CBS News/New York Times poll finds that Americans have become more pessimistic about how things are going for the U.S. in Afghanistan, and less convinced the U.S. is doing the right thing fighting in that country. • • • Now, just 25% say the war is going well, and 23% say that the U.S. is doing the right thing fighting there, the lowest percentage ever. Just 27% say the war there has been a success for the U.S., a 12 point drop since last September. 47% would like to see the timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops moved up.

Evaluating the War Only one in four Americans thinks things are going well for the U.S. in Afghanistan, about half the percentage that said that four months ago, and near the lowest percentage since the CBS News/ New York Times Poll began asking the question. How Are Things Going for the U.S. in Afghanistan? 11/2011 9/2011 10/2010 11/2009 48% 40% 38% 23% 42 53 55 69

Well Badly

Now 25% 68

3/2009 33% 57

27% of Americans think the war there has been mostly a success for the U.S.; 59% say it has not been. In September, 39% felt it had been a success. This poll was taken following the massacre of civilians in Afghanistan by a U.S. soldier earlier this month. War in Afghanistan Mostly a Success for U.S.? Now 9/2011 Reps Dems Inds 27% 39% 37% 24% 23% 59 50 52 59 64

Yes No

And just 23% now say the U.S. is doing the right thing there, down from 36% in November and the lowest percentage ever found in this poll. 69% think the U.S. should not be involved in Afghanistan – the highest percentage to date. U.S. Doing the Right Thing Fighting in Afghanistan? Now 11/2011 9/2011 6/2011 9/2010 23% 36% 34% 35% 38% 69 53 57 58 54

Right thing Not be involved

10/2009 51% 39

32% of Republicans think the U.S. is doing the right thing; that percentage drops to 18% among Democrats and 22% of independents. U.S. Troops The U.S. is expected to withdraw about a third of its troops there by the end of this year, and all troops by the end of 2014. 47% would like to see the timetable for the departure of U.S. troops moved up, including those who want troops removed now. Another 33% would keep the schedule for withdrawal as it is. What Should U.S. Do Now About Troops in Afghanistan? All Reps Dems Withdraw sooner 47% 41% 48% Keep timetable for withdrawal as is 33 28 40 Stay as long as it takes 17 29 10 Goals? Most Americans do not have a clear idea of what the U.S. is fighting for in Afghanistan now that Osama bin Laden is dead. 42% say they do, down from 50% six months ago. Clear Idea of U.S. Goals in Afghanistan Now bin Laden is Dead? Now 9/2011 Reps Dems Inds Yes 42% 50% 55% 38% 37% No 55 43 43 60 59 When asked to describe what the U.S. is fighting for in Afghanistan, 35% volunteer fighting terrorism. Another 16% said the U.S. is trying to stabilize the country, and 12% say the goal is to prevent the Taliban from taking control. What U.S. is Fighting for in Afghanistan (Among those with clear idea of what U.S. is fighting for) Fighting terrorism 35% Stabilize country 16 Prevent Taliban from taking control 12 Oil/gas 9
_________________________________________________________________________ This poll was conducted by telephone from March 21-25, 2012 among 986 adults nationwide. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

Inds 48% 32 16

CBS NEWS/NEW YORK TIMES POLL The Public Sours on the War in Afghanistan March 21-25, 2012 q29 What is your impression of how the war in Afghanistan is going for the United States right now--very well, somewhat well, somewhat badly, or very badly? **** TOTAL RESPONDENTS **** **** Party ID **** Total Rep Dem Ind % % % % 3 4 2 3 22 29 22 18 33 29 37 32 35 31 31 40 7 7 8 7

Very well Somewhat well Somewhat badly Very badly Don't know/No answer

Nov11a % 4 44 31 11 10

q30 Do you think the U.S. is doing the right thing by fighting the war in Afghanistan now, or should the U.S. not be involved in Afghanistan now? Right thing Not involved Don't know/No answer 23 69 8 32 59 9 18 74 8 22 72 6 36 53 11

q31 Regardless of whether you think taking military action in Afghanistan was the right thing to do--would you say the war in Afghanistan has been mostly a success for the United States, or not? Sep11b 39 50 4 7

Success Not a success Mixed (Vol.) Don't know/No answer

27 59 6 8

37 52 4 7

24 59 9 8

23 64 5 8

q32 The U.S. is expected to withdraw about a third of its troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2012 and all of its troops by the end of 2014. Which of the following comes closest to your opinion? 1. The U.S. should withdraw all of its troops sooner, and not wait until the end of 2014, 2. The U.S. should keep the timetable and withdraw all of its troops by the end of 2014, or 3.The U.S. should stay in Afghanistan for as long as it takes to stabilize the situation there? Withdraw sooner Should withdraw now (vol.) Keep timetable Stay as long as it takes DK/NA 44 3 33 17 3 40 1 28 29 2 44 4 40 10 2 45 3 32 16 4

q33 Since Osama bin Laden has been killed, do you feel you have a clear idea of what the war in Afghanistan is all about--that is, what we are fighting for? Sep11b 50 43 7

Yes No Don't know/No answer

42 55 3

55 43 2

38 60 2

37 59 4

*Intro: Now that Osama bin Laden has been killed….

q34 What is it that you think we're fighting for in Afghanistan? * THOSE WHO HAVE A CLEAR IDEA OF WHAT WE’RE FIGHTING FOR* **** Party ID **** Total Rep Dem Ind % % % % Fighting terrorism 35 40 31 34 Stabilize country 16 13 16 18 Prevent Taliban control 12 14 10 11 Oil/gas 9 9 7 10 Spreading democracy 7 6 13 4 Help people in Afghanistan 4 6 5 3 Sept 11th attacks 4 1 3 7 Radical extremism 1 0 0 1 Other 6 6 7 6 Don't know/No answer 6 5 8 6

Total Respondents Total Republicans Total Democrats Total Independents

UNWEIGHTED 986 254 350 382

WEIGHTED

248 (25%) 318 (32%) 420 (43%)

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