With Barack Obama making his first trip to Afghanistan as president, a Washington Post poll finds the issue to be one of his strongest. It stands as the only issue tested on which his handling merits majority approval and more strong approval than disapproval.
Afghanistan is also an issue where the president is buoyed by cross-party support, but dragged somewhat by less enthusiastic support in his base.
Overall, 53 percent of those polled approve of the way Obama is dealing with the situation in Afghanistan; 35 percent disapprove. Among independents, exactly half give the president positive marks, and 35 percent negative. In contrast, Obama's approval rating on four big domestic issues in the poll sits below 50-percent both generally and among independents.
Afghanistan has long been a bright spot for the president in terms of public opinion, in part because Republicans give him more positive marks here than on any domestic issue. In the new poll, 37 percent of Republicans approve of Obama's management of the conflict there, more than doubling his overall 17 percent job approval rating among the group.
Democrats broadly approve - 69 percent approve to 21 percent disapprove - though that overall positive masks far higher ratings among conservative and moderate Democrats (75 percent approve) than among liberals (58 percent).
Separately, the public places greater trust in Democrats than Republicans to manage the situation in Afghanistan, 43 percent to 33 percent, though that is largely a matter of partisan preference. Independents split evenly between the two parties, with 32 percent saying they trust each and one in five favoring neither party.
Americans give a narrow edge to Republicans on handling the U.S. campaign against terrorism (43 percent trust Republicans more, 37 percent Democrats).
%Approve of President Obama's handling of... All adults Dem Rep Ind Overall job 53% 87% 17% 47% Afghanistan 53 69 37 50 Health care 48 80 14 43 Economy 45 78 15 38 Budget deficit 43 75 8 35 Immigration* 33 52 11 30 *Overall 23 no opinion of immigration Party trust on Afghanistan All adults Dem Rep Ind Democrats 43% 84% 7% 32% Republicans 33 3 77 32 Both (vol.) 4 3 3 7 Neither (vol.) 13 7 10 20 No opin. 6 3 4 9