The differences in intensity also are telling: Among Republicans, 66 percent not only oppose reform, but do so "strongly." Fewer Democrats, 48 percent, strongly support it.
Results on Afghanistan show some of the powers of presidential persuasion, but also indicate some of its limits. Polls in advance of Obama's decision showed substantial opposition to sending more troops; in the event, as noted, 58 percent support it – led by 66 percent of Republicans, who are more apt to support the war; but also joined by 59 percent of Democrats, who are more inclined to support Obama.
The "war worth fighting" result, up 8 points, shows the same effect; so does an 8-point increase in the number of Americans who say the United States must win the war in Afghanistan in order to prevail against terrorism more broadly – 56 percent now say so. In polling from 2007 to early 2009, no more than 45 percent (and as few as 31 percent) said that about the war in Iraq.
METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Dec. 10-13, 2009, among a random national sample of 1,003 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.