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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 01:05 PM ET, 03/28/2010

The president's ratings on Afghanistan

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

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  01:05 PM ET, 03/28/2010

Categories:  Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Barack Obama

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