In my column this morning, I make a case that President Obama’s Afghanistan policy makes more sense than he seems to be getting credit for in Washington, given that doves think he’s withdrawing too slowly and hawks think his withdrawal is too speedy.
The Hill has a poll today showing that more Americans agree with Obama than with either his hawkish or his dovish critics. That’s the good news for the president. The bad news is that if you combine the two camps of critics, more Americans disagree with him than agree.
In the Hill survey of 1,000 likely voters, conducted by Pulse Opinion Research on June 23, 39 percent of likely voters feel that the pace of withdrawal outlined by Obama is “about right.” Thirty percent said the scheduled withdrawal is not fast enough, while 28 percent believe American troops are being pulled out too hastily. So Obama has the edge, but 58 percent of those surveyed disagree with him. It’s not always easy being in the middle.
The Hill also found that 40 percent of likely voters said the plan will help his chances of winning a second term while 43 percent contend it will make no difference. It’s not surprising that the answer to this question is inconclusive. Given how divided Americans are about Afghanistan, it’s impossible to know whether the plan will help or hurt Obama next year. What happens on the ground is likely to matter most.