Polling Shows Americans Support the Removal of Troops from Both Syria and Afghanistan.
01-11-2019 10:49am

Polling Shows Americans Support the Removal of Troops from Both Syria and Afghanistan.

Americans remain unconvinced that the United States has a clear purpose in Afghanistan and would support a presidential decision to remove troops from both Afghanistan and Syria within the year.

President Donald Trump recently announced his intention to take drastic steps towards bringing troops home from both Syria and Afghanistan. In the light of this announcement, the Charles Koch Institute partnered with YouGov to understand how Americans view the prospect of withdrawing our military presence in these regions.

The polling data show that Americans support the president’s decision to remove troops from Afghanistan after 17 years of continued war. Vice president of research and policy at the Charles Koch Institute, Will Ruger, explained, “Our survey clearly shows that President Trump would have the public’s backing for the withdrawal of all U.S. military forces from Afghanistan.” He continued, “A majority of Americans would support a presidential decision to pull troops out within a year while very few say they would oppose it.”

Americans also favor the removal of U.S. troops from Syria. “Our findings on Syria show that Americans, no matter how you cut it, are unconvinced that it makes sense to continue keeping our troops in harm’s way there,” Ruger said. “The president should insist that our troops be pulled out of Syria with all due speed since there is no compelling strategic reason to stay.  He can be confident that there is little support for dragging our feet or a reversal of his prudent decision to withdraw.”

Americans Support Removal of Troops within The Year

51 percent of Americans said they would support the decision to remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan within the year. Less than one quarter of respondents, or 22 percent, responded that they would oppose this decision and 27 percent were unsure.

Ruger commented, “Given that 27 percent are on the fence, a strong effort by the administration to explain why ending the longest war in American history is in our national interest could only increase already strong support for the idea.”

Americans Want a Clear Purpose for Occupation

Nearly half of the survey respondents, 45 percent, are unconvinced that the United States has a clear purpose in Afghanistan. Twenty-one percent responded that they believed America did have a clear purpose, while 34 percent, or one-third, said they were on the fence.

Americans Support National Security

According to the polling, Americans are skeptical that a continued U.S. presence in Afghanistan is vital to enhancing our national security. Forty percent of respondents said they did not think it was necessary for the United States to continue occupying Afghanistan for the sake of the safety of the nation. Only 24 percent believe occupation is necessary. Over one-third of those polled, 36 percent, said they did not know how they felt.

Americans Support Withdrawal from Syria

When respondents were asked if they agreed with the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, 41 percent said they support this decision. Thirty-two percent responded by saying they opposed the removal of troops.

When asked specifically about removing troops from the fight with ISIS, 38 percent still supported withdrawal from Syria with 35 percent standing in opposition. In both instances, 27 percent of respondents were undecided.


There can be no doubt that military defense is an essential function of our government and is vital to our national security. After nearly two decades of war, however, Americans have recognized the current foreign policy status quo has left the nation strategically adrift. Instead of continuing to remain involved in military engagements around the globe disconnected from our security needs and without clear objectives, the American public has clearly signaled its desired for a grand strategy based in realism.


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. and was commissioned by the Charles Koch Institute. Total sample size was 1,263 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th December 2018 – 1st January 2019.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).

04-16-2019 11:37am

New Survey Reveals American Consumers Support Businesses Hiring Those with Criminal Records

New research from SHRM and the Charles Koch Institute found that the vast majority of American consumers support purchasing goods and services from businesses that employ people with non-violent criminal records.

Read more

04-04-2019 03:05pm

On 70th Anniversary of NATO, Key Member States Question Its Relevancy and Efficacy

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) celebrates its 70th anniversary, and in advance of this historical commemoration, a new survey asked respondents in key NATO member states about NATO’s effectiveness and relevance in today’s world.

Read more

04-01-2019 05:29pm

Protecting Protest: How Proposed Rules Would Chill Free Expression Around DC Landmarks

Given the timeless importance of protecting civil liberties, the Charles Koch Institute today joins the ACLU in voicing concern about a proposed National Park Service (NPS) rule that could hinder free speech and peaceful assembly around DC landmarks.

Read more

Sign up for updates