Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Is American opinion turning against the war?

We have seen in recent months that Afghan public opinion has turned against the war. So too has Australian opinion, thus joining most of the western troop-deploying countries like the UK, Canada, Germany, Italy, etc. (Note that this fact puts paid to any suggestions that the war is somehow about promoting democracy.)

So far, however, American public opinion has been in favor of the war. But that might be changing:

Newsday (Long Island, NY)
Poll: Tired of warfare, Long Islanders want troops brought home

OCTOBER 14 - Long Islanders are tired of seeing America wage two wars and want troops to come home from Iraq and Afghanistan, a Newsday poll found.

Nearly two-thirds want a timetable for pulling troops out of Iraq. That overwhelming sentiment echoes the opinions of other Americans, and puts Long Islanders in line with Barack Obama's position on Iraq.

At the same time, about half of Long Islanders say the United States should decrease troops in Afghanistan or even pull out. That's a sharp disagreement with both Obama and his Republican challenger, John McCain.

The poll surveyed 761 likely Long Island voters from Oct. 1 to Oct. 7. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

The strong feeling about troops in Afghanistan surprised some local analysts, who expected Long Islanders would be supportive of the candidates' constant calls to send more troops to Afghanistan. Only 28 percent of those polled want an increase in troops and about 10 percent want them kept at current levels.

Richard Himelfarb, a history professor at Hofstra University, called the anti-Afghanistan poll numbers "remarkable."

"The Afghanistan finding is surprising in that the public mood is directly against the two candidates," said Himelfarb, a McCain supporter who advocates the war in Afghanistan as well as in Iraq.

But Patrick Kelly, a history professor at Adelphi University, said he's noticed public support eroding for the Afghanistan war in the last few weeks as the American economy has imploded...

By far, Long Islanders are most critical of the war in Iraq. Not only do nearly 65 percent of them want a timetable, but it is favored by all demographic groups, including Republicans. (link)

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