Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Record-Low Support for Keeping U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

Just 32% of the public now says that the U.S. should keep troops in Afghanistan until the situation there has stabilized, according to a survey conducted April 4-15. On the other hand, 60% favor removing the troops as soon as possible. In May of last year, the public was evenly divided on this issue (48% supported withdrawing troops and 47% supported maintaining them).

Levels of support for keeping U.S. forces in Afghanistan has declined over the past year among Republicans, Democrats and independents. For the first time in a Pew Research survey, as many Republicans (48%) favor removing U.S. forces from Afghanistan as soon as possible as support keeping the troops there until the situation stabilizes (45%).

As recently as March, a majority of Republicans (53%) favored staying in Afghanistan until it is stable while 41% favored a withdrawal.

Currently, 66% of Democrats and 62% of independents want U.S. troops removed as soon as possible, while about three-in-ten (29%) in each group want the troop presence maintained.

The share of independents who favor a troop pullout has increased 11 points (from 51%) since last May,immediately after the killing of Osama bin Laden. In the same time span, the share of Democrats who hold this view increased 16 points (from 50%). Read More