Today's news that the U.S. military operation in Kandahar will take longer than expected lands amid the American public's least friendly outlook on the war in Afghanistan since 2007, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Overall, 53 percent say the war is not worth its costs, a new high in Post-ABC polling. That includes 41 percent who feel that way strongly, matching the previous high in August 2009. The public divides nearly evenly on how things are going there, with 42 percent saying the U.S. is winning and 39 percent losing; 12 percent say neither side has an edge.
Views on the war are similar to those in an April Post-ABC poll, but support lags far behind its level in December following President Obama's announcement of a new strategy for the conflict.
Republicans, who are the strongest backers of the war, continue to shift against it, with the overall share supportive of the war dipping from 69 percent in April to 62 percent now and the percentage strongly supportive dropping below 40 percent for the first time. Among Democrats, two-thirds consider the war not worth its costs, as do 53 percent of independents.
Republicans are most optimistic about the current state of affairs in Afghanistan, with six in 10 saying the U.S. is winning the war there. Independents are about evenly split (40 percent say winning, 41 percent losing) and nearly half of Democrats (48 percent) say the U.S. is losing compared with a third (33 percent) who think America is winning.
Those who feel the U.S. is prevailing in the conflict are far more apt to say the war has been worth its costs (72 percent compared with 17 percent among those who feel the U.S. is losing and 36 percent who call it a draw), yet even among this group, just over a quarter say it has not been worth fighting.
Q. All in all, considering the costs to the United States versus the benefits to the United States, do you think the war in Afghanistan has been worth fighting, or not? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?
-- Worth it -- -Not worth it- NET Strongly NET Strongly All 44 26 53 41 Democrats 33 21 66 54 Republicans 62 38 35 24 Independents 44 24 53 40
Q. All told, do you think the United States is winning or losing the war in Afghanistan?
Neither/ Winning Losing tie (vol.) No opinion All 42 39 12 7 Democrats 33 48 11 8 Republicans 60 25 9 7 Independents 40 41 15 4