December 8, 2009 - Obama Gets Surge In Afghan War Approval, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; But Only 26% Of U.S. Voters Say He Deserves Nobel Prize

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Public support for the war in Afghanistan is up nine percentage points in the last three weeks, as American voters say 57 - 35 percent that fighting the war is the right thing to do. Approval of President Barack Obama's handling of the war is up seven points in the same period, from a 38 - 49 percent negative November 18 to a 45 - 45 percent split, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

American voters approve 58 - 37 percent of President Obama's decision to send 30,000 more combat troops to the war-torn nation, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-per-ack) University poll finds. And voters approve 60 - 32 percent of the President's plan to begin withdrawing combat troops from Afghanistan in July 2011. But by a 45 - 40 percent margin, Americans do not believe he will be able to keep that promise.

The jump in public support for Obama's war policy comes as voters say 66 - 26 percent he does not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize he will be awarded this week, and 41 percent say the Nobel committee's choice of Obama for the award causes them to think less of it, while 6 percent say it makes them think better of the prize and 49 percent say it makes no difference.

"President Barack Obama's nationally televised speech explaining his policy and troop buildup has worked, at least in the short term, in bolstering support for the war effort and his decisions," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "History teaches that the bully pulpit can be a powerful tool for a president who knows how to use it, especially when it comes to foreign policy. The American people tend to rally around their presidents in military matters, at least for a while. It took some time for similar type speeches about Vietnam and Iraq by Presidents Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush respectively to lose their ability to rally support."

"It's probably a good thing for President Obama that the time difference from Norway means the Nobel presentation will occur while most Americans are sleeping and might get less coverage in the United States," Brown added. "Two out of three Americans don't think he deserves it compared to the quarter who do. Even among Democrats, only 49 percent think he deserves it, compared to 8 percent of Republicans and 19 percent of independent voters. As is the case with many questions related to the President there are wide gender and racial gaps."

Among women, 31 percent think Obama deserves the award, compared to only 19 percent of men. Seventy-three percent of blacks, 29 percent of Hispanics and 18 percent of whites think so.

In a November 18 Quinnipiac University survey, American voters said 48 - 41 percent that fighting in Afghanistan was the right thing to do. Since then Democrats have moved from 58 - 31 percent against the war to a 47 - 46 percent split. Republican support inched up from 68 - 22 percent to 71 - 21 percent and independent backing is up from 51 - 39 percent to 58 - 34 percent.

"The dichotomy between the almost two-to-one support for setting a July 2011 date for beginning withdrawal of combat troops from Afghanistan and the doubt that Obama will be able to deliver on the promise reflects a skeptical public about America's ability to triumph there," Brown said.

"Similarly, American voters say 64 - 30 percent that eliminating the threat from terrorists operating from Afghanistan is a worthwhile goal for American troops to fight and possibly die for, but those same voters say 52 - 38 percent they don't think the United States will be successful in eliminating the terrorist threat from Afghanistan."

From December 1 - 6, Quinnipiac University surveyed 2,313 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

6. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling - foreign policy?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Approve              46%    21%    73%    42%    44%    49%    40%    79%    62%
Disapprove           45     70     17     51     48     42     50     17     35
DK/NA                 9      9      9      7      8      9      9      4      3
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Approve              54%    45%    44%    48%    44%    48%    74%    56%    23%
Disapprove           40     48     46     42     49     48     19     37     69
DK/NA                 7      7     11     10      7      3      7      7      8
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Approve              44%    52%    25%    35%    42%    50%    42%
Disapprove           46     44     65     56     49     47     50
DK/NA                10      5     10      9      9      3      8
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling - foreign policy?
                                                             APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Dec 8   Nov 18  Oct 7   Aug 6   July 2  Apr 29  Dec 8
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    2009
 
Approve              46      49      49      52      55      57      46
Disapprove           45      42      37      38      35      32      45
DK/NA                 9       8      13      10       9      11       9
 
 
8. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling - the situation in Afghanistan?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Approve              45%    36%    55%    43%    47%    42%    43%    60%    45%
Disapprove           45     54     34     47     44     46     46     33     45
DK/NA                11     10     10     10     10     11     11      7     10
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Approve              46%    46%    42%    44%    44%    47%    54%    50%    35%
Disapprove           45     45     45     46     47     44     37     40     55
DK/NA                 9      9     13     10     10      9      9     10     10
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Approve              43%    49%    39%    42%    46%    55%    44%
Disapprove           46     42     50     45     45     40     46
DK/NA                11      9     10     13      9      5     10
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling - the situation in Afghanistan?
                     Dec 8   Nov 18  Oct 7
                     2009    2009    2009
 
Approve              45      38      42
Disapprove           45      49      40
DK/NA                11      12      17
 
 
17. 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?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Right thing          57%    71%    47%    58%    66%    49%    62%    42%    38%
Shouldn't be inv     35     21     46     34     29     41     31     50     54
DK/NA                 8      7      6      8      5     10      7      8      8
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Right thing          52%    62%    54%    55%    62%    63%    46%    56%    66%
Shouldn't be inv     41     32     36     39     31     31     47     37     28
DK/NA                 6      6     10      6      7      7      7      7      6
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Right thing          55%    62%    70%    66%    61%    64%    64%
Shouldn't be inv     37     30     25     27     34     29     31
DK/NA                 7      8      6      8      6      7      6
 
TREND: 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?
                     Dec 8   Nov 18  Oct 7
                     2009    2009    2009
 
Right thing          57      48      52
Shouldn't be inv     35      41      37
DK/NA                 8      11      11
 
 
18. Do you think eliminating the threat from terrorists operating from Afghanistan is a worthwhile goal for American troops to fight and possibly die for or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Yes                  64%    79%    56%    62%    73%    56%    68%    50%    44%
No                   30     15     38     32     24     36     26     42     55
DK/NA                 6      6      6      6      4      9      6      8      1
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Yes                  60%    71%    59%    58%    72%    73%    53%    63%    73%
No                   36     25     32     36     22     24     40     31     23
DK/NA                 4      4     10      6      6      4      7      6      5
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Yes                  62%    70%    76%    71%    67%    71%    70%
No                   32     25     20     23     28     19     26
DK/NA                 7      5      5      6      4     11      4
 
TREND: Do you think eliminating the threat from terrorists operating from Afghanistan is a worthwhile goal for American troops to fight and possibly die for or not?
                     Dec 8   Nov 18  Oct 7
                     2009    2009    2009
 
Yes                  64      65      65
No                   30      29      28
DK/NA                 6       7       7
 
 
19. Do you think the United States will be successful in eliminating the threat from terrorists operating from Afghanistan or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Yes                  38%    46%    39%    33%    40%    35%    38%    44%    27%
No                   52     39     52     58     51     52     51     45     64
DK/NA                11     16      9      9      8     13     11     10      9
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Yes                  41%    39%    34%    39%    38%    41%    27%    39%    43%
No                   53     52     50     51     53     50     65     52     45
DK/NA                 6      9     16     11      8      9      9      9     13
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Yes                  38%    37%    44%    38%    41%    36%    39%
No                   51     53     44     49     50     58     51
DK/NA                11     11     12     13     10      6     11
 
TREND: Do you think the United States will be successful in eliminating the threat from terrorists operating from Afghanistan or not?
                     Dec 8   Nov 18  Oct 7
                     2009    2009    2009
 
Yes                  38      36      38
No                   52      53      49
DK/NA                11      11      13
 
 
20. Do you approve or disapprove of President Obama's decision to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Approve              58%    70%    50%    57%    65%    50%    61%    48%    33%
Disapprove           37     26     43     37     29     43     33     47     63
DK/NA                 6      5      6      6      5      6      6      6      5
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Approve              53%    60%    58%    53%    65%    62%    48%    56%    66%
Disapprove           43     35     35     41     31     32     47     39     28
DK/NA                 4      5      7      6      4      5      5      5      5
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Approve              55%    64%    67%    64%    64%    64%    63%
Disapprove           39     30     28     30     31     26     31
DK/NA                 6      6      5      6      5     10      6
 
 
21. Do you approve or disapprove of President Obama's decision to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan in July 2011?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Approve              60%    36%    82%    56%    55%    65%    55%    85%    67%
Disapprove           32     57     12     35     38     26     37      8     22
DK/NA                 8      6      6      9      7      9      8      7     11
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Approve              69%    57%    58%    68%    51%    52%    82%    66%    43%
Disapprove           24     37     33     27     38     41     11     27     49
DK/NA                 8      6      9      5     11      7      7      7      8
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Approve              62%    55%    45%    50%    59%    63%    54%
Disapprove           29     40     47     41     34     23     38
DK/NA                 9      6      8      9      7     14      8
 
 
22. Do you think President Obama will or will not begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan in July 2011?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Will                 40%    33%    57%    32%    38%    43%    38%    63%    41%
Will not             45     51     31     53     48     42     48     25     46
DK/NA                14     15     11     15     14     15     14     12     13
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Will                 46%    37%    40%    43%    38%    37%    50%    45%    33%
Will not             43     53     39     44     50     51     35     44     53
DK/NA                11     10     22     14     13     12     15     11     15
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Will                 40%    42%    36%    34%    41%    46%    36%
Will not             45     46     50     52     48     44     50
DK/NA                15     12     14     14     11     10     14
 
 
23. How much longer would you be willing to have large numbers of U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan - less than a year, one to two years, two to five years, five to ten years, or as long as it takes?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Less than 1 year     27%    13%    35%    30%    23%    32%    25%    31%    46%
1 to 2 years         22     15     30     21     20     25     21     35     16
2 to 5 years         14     17     13     14     18     10     16      6      8
5 to 10 years         1      1      1      1      2      1      1      -      3
Long as it takes     31     48     19     30     36     27     33     24     23
DK/NA                 4      6      3      3      2      6      4      5      3
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Less than 1 year     32%    26%    27%    32%    23%    21%    39%    29%    18%
1 to 2 years         23     22     22     22     23     20     31     26     14
2 to 5 years         13     15     14     13     16     16     10     16     15
5 to 10 years         1      2      1      1      1      2      1      1      2
Long as it takes     30     33     30     29     33     37     16     25     46
DK/NA                 1      2      7      3      4      3      2      3      5
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Less than 1 year     29%    22%    20%    20%    28%    19%    24%
1 to 2 years         21     26     17     19     23     32     21
2 to 5 years         13     16     19     16     16     14     14
5 to 10 years         1      1      2      1      1      5      2
Long as it takes     31     32     39     39     29     29     34
DK/NA                 4      3      4      5      3      -      5
 
TREND: How much longer would you be willing to have large numbers of U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan - less than a year, one to two years, two to five years, five to ten years, or as long as it takes?
                     Dec 8   Nov 18  Oct 7
                     2009    2009    2009
 
Less than 1 year     27      31      28
1 to 2 years         22      24      21
2 to 5 years         14      12      14
5 to 10 years         1       2       2
Long as it takes     31      27      30
DK/NA                 4       5       6
 
 
24. Do you think the United States is heading for the same kind of involvement in Afghanistan as it had in the Vietnam War, or do you think the United States will avoid that kind of involvement this time?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Same as Vietnam      32%    28%    27%    38%    33%    31%    33%    23%    35%
Will avoid that      57     57     66     51     59     55     57     65     56
DK/NA                11     15      7     11      8     14     10     12      9
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Same as Vietnam      30%    31%    36%    33%    33%    26%    36%    32%    31%
Will avoid that      58     62     52     56     58     68     57     60     57
DK/NA                12      7     13     11      9      6      7      8     13
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Same as Vietnam      34%    26%    32%    31%    32%    26%    35%
Will avoid that      54     67     55     57     61     65     56
DK/NA                12      7     13     11      7      9     10
 
TREND: Do you think the United States is heading for the same kind of involvement in Afghanistan as it had in the Vietnam war, or do you think the United States will avoid that kind of involvement this time?
                     Dec 8   Nov 18  Oct 7
                     2009    2009    2009
 
Same as Vietnam      32      35      32
Will avoid that      57      51      56
DK/NA                11      13      12
 
 
25. Do you think that President Obama deserved to win the Nobel Peace prize or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Yes                  26%     8%    49%    19%    19%    31%    18%    73%    29%
No                   66     87     41     73     72     61     73     17     62
DK/NA                 9      5     11      8      9      8      8      9      8
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Yes                  29%    22%    26%    29%    20%    22%    40%    31%    12%
No                   64     70     62     62     72     74     48     61     82
DK/NA                 7      8     12     10      8      4     12      8      6
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Yes                  26%    24%    11%    15%    20%    21%    23%
No                   65     70     83     77     73     74     67
DK/NA                10      6      6      8      7      4     10
 
 
26. Does the Nobel committee's awarding of the peace prize to President Obama make you think more of the peace prize, less of the peace prize or not affect your view of it?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Think more of         6%     3%    11%     2%     4%     7%     3%    31%     2%
Think less of        41     66     17     46     47     36     48      7     34
Not affect view      49     29     68     48     46     52     47     57     59
DK/NA                 3      1      4      5      2      4      2      5      5
 
                     AGE IN YRS.......    INCOME.............  POL PHIL.........
                     18-34  35-54  55+    <50    50-100 >100K  Lib    Mod    Con
 
Think more of         6%     4%     8%     7%     2%     3%     6%     5%     5%
Think less of        36     42     44     38     46     46     19     35     62
Not affect view      55     52     44     51     49     49     73     57     30
DK/NA                 3      2      5      3      2      2      2      3      3
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn                      Military
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Households
 
Think more of         6%     5%     2%     3%     2%     4%     6%
Think less of        40     45     62     54     47     40     45
Not affect view      50     49     34     41     48     54     47
DK/NA                 4      1      2      3      2      1      3