The Washington Post

Poll: Partisan reactions to Afghanistan and optimism on government

Two new Washington Post/ABC News poll stories on Tuesday highlight public opinion on the war in Afghanistan and the broad uncertainty over the direction of the U.S. government. Digging deeper into the numbers finds differing reactions from Democrats, Republicans and independents.

Almost three-quarters of the public thinks the United States should withdraw substantial combat forces from Afghanistan this summer. Republicans are much less likely than Democrats and independents to think troops should be withdrawn on this timetable. Far fewer overall — just 39 percent — believe troops will actually be drawn down starting in the summer. Democrats are more optimistic than Republicans and independents in this regard.

In the second poll story, just over a quarter express optimism over the future of our system of government and how well it works. Nearly half are uncertain about the future. Unlike most attitudes about the government and politics in Washington, there is less political division on this question. Three in 10 or fewer Democrats, Republicans and independents express optimism about the future.

Peyton M. Craighill is polling manager for the Washington Post. Peyton reports and conducts national and regional news polls for the Washington Post, with a focus on politics, elections and other social and economic issues.

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