November 24th, 2009
10:05 AM ET

Poll: U.S. split over Afghan troop buildup

Washington (CNN) - If President Obama decides to send 34,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, a new national poll indicates Americans would be split over whether to support such a move.

Half the people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey, released Tuesday, said they would support such a decision, with 49 percent opposed.

But support for a troop buildup of that size is greater than the 45 percent of the public who support the war in Afghanistan. The survey indicates that 52 percent oppose the war.

"The war is unpopular, and previous polls have shown that Americans oppose sending more troops in the abstract," said Keating Holland, CNN's polling director. CNN's Paul Steinhauser talks to polling director Keating Holland about how Americans feel about the war in Afghanistan.

"But it may be a different story when Americans are confronted with an actual decision, by the commander in chief, on a military matter. Previous presidents have seen a 'rally effect' - at least temporarily - when they have made command decisions like this one."

The poll's release comes after Obama met Monday night with his national security team on Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan. It was the ninth meeting of the president's war council to consider whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, which the U.S. commander on the ground there has requested.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that Obama will announce his decision within days.

The CNN/Opinion Research poll was conducted November 13-15, with 1,014 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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Filed under: Decision: Afghanistan • White House