There also are some differences between the sexes; women typically are less apt than men to support military action, and such is the case here: Women by 51-38 percent favor a smaller, training-only mission for additional U.S. forces in Afghanistan; men, rather, favor a larger force with more combat responsibilities, by 54-39 percent. Women also are much more apt than men to think the Karzai government can create an effective Afghan army.
In the only other difference between the sexes, women are more apt than men by 7 points to say the war has not been worth fighting; this, though, simply reflects the fact that substantially more women than men identify themselves as Democrats.
TERRORISM and STRATEGY – Concerns about Afghanistan tie in with the threat of al Qaeda-sponsored terrorism, and there's a sign of slippage for Obama on terrorism overall. The number of Americans who say his policies are making the United States safer from terrorism has lost 5 points since early summer, from 32 percent in June to 27 percent now. However, there's been no change in the number who say his policies are making the country less safe, steady at 22 percent. The rest say his policies aren't making much difference in security either way.
Confidence in Obama to come up with a successful strategy again largely is partisan; 78 percent of Democrats are confident, falling to 49 percent of independents and 33 percent of Republicans.
It follows, given their political predilections, that people who are confident in Obama's decision on the war favor smaller rather than larger troop deployment, by 55-38 percent. Those who are not confident in him, by contrast, favor a larger increase with a broader mission, 57-33 percent.
METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Nov. 12-15, 2009, among a random national sample of 1,001 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results for the full sample have a 3.5-point error margin. Click here for a detailed description of sampling error. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.