Polling Wars: Hawks vs. Doves
The contrast between attitudes toward military involvement in Afghanistan and Iran fits into a temporal pattern. Americans generally like their wars to be successful or short — and ideally both.
Americans and Western Europeans Agree on Afghanistan-Pakistan Extremist Threat
While both Americans and Western Europeans generally believe the “Af-Pak” region potentially poses significant threats to national security, they do not share a common view about the deployment of military forces in Afghanistan.
Public Divided Over Afghan Troop Requests, But Still Sees Rationale for War
As Obama weighs difficult choices in Afghanistan, the public also appears to be finding it difficult to judge the merits of different options for expanding, maintaining or contracting the U.S. effort on that front.
Public Support for Afghanistan War Wanes
While an overwhelming number of Americans say the Taliban regaining control of Afghanistan would represent a major threat to the U.S., just half support keeping troops in that country. Pluralities of Democrats, women and those with a high school education or less favor bringing troops home as soon as possible.
Few in NATO Support Call For Additional Forces in Afghanistan
Proposals to increase troop levels may face considerable opposition in many NATO countries, which were opposed to Obama’s original call for more forces.
Ideological Gaps Over Israel on Both Sides of Atlantic
The American public has long expressed strong support for Israel. In contrast, polls in Western Europe have frequently found more support for the Palestinians. But while they generally take different sides in the conflict, political ideology matters in both America and Europe.
Modest Backing for Israel in Gaza Crisis; No Desire for Greater U.S. Role
Americans have a mixed view of the war in Gaza, and see it in much the same way as they viewed Israel’s conflict with Hezbollah in 2006. As in the past, Americans express strong support for Israel, but there is limited approval of the current military action. However, Hamas is largely seen as primarily responsible for the outbreak of violence.
Before Israel’s Invasion, Hamas Popularity Was Waning Among Its Neighbors — Even in Gaza Itself
Before the current Middle East conflict, Hamas hardly enjoyed universal popularity among Muslims, and among some key Arab publics, its support had been waning.
Support for Global Engagement Declines
The public’s top long-term foreign policy goals are decidedly America-centric. Defending the country against terrorism, protecting U.S. jobs, and weaning the country from imported energy all draw extensive bipartisan support.
The Iraq Challenge
Soaring concern about the economy has displaced the Iraq War as the top priority issue among voters. Ambivalent and contradictory public opinions further complicate the role that the conflict will play in the November election.