NEW POLL: Americans want troops home from Afghanistan, Iraq; opposed to more military engagement

ARLINGTON, VA, January 23, 2020—A new YouGov poll commissioned by the Charles Koch Institute shows Americans are strongly supportive of bringing our troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq, oppose war with Iran, and generally want the United States to be less militarily engaged around the world. The poll comes following President Trump sending an additional 3,500 troops to the Middle East amid rising tensions in the region, but avoiding additional military action following the Iran missile strikes.

Will Ruger, vice president of research and policy at the Charles Koch Institute had this to say about the poll’s findings:

“The American people are tired of our ‘endless wars’ and seem to understand that long-term military commitments like those in Afghanistan and Iraq don’t serve our national interests and aren’t worth the costs. With nearly 70 percent responding in favor of bringing our troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s clear that our approach to the Middle East doesn’t square with the will of the American people who bear the human and financial costs of these decisions. Unfortunately, the Washington foreign policy establishment, including many in government, has resisted real change.”

Though there seems to be some uncertainty about the implications of open-ended military presences in Iraq and Afghanistan, respondents were much more certain about whether or not our troops should be in the country, with 68 and 69 percent in support of bringing our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively.

More generally, the poll shows a majority (52 percent) of the public wants the United States to be less military engaged in conflicts around the world. Even more strongly, 60 percent of the American public oppose the United States going to war with Iran.

Ruger continued:

“The majority of Americans who don’t want war with Iran are right, and it is past time to shift course away from the failed maximum pressure campaign against Iran that has brought us dangerously close to an unnecessary and imprudent war. Indeed, Americans look ready for a more thorough-going rethink of our foreign policy and shift away from the military-first strategies that have seen trillions in tax dollars spent and thousands of American lives lost. The president’s instincts on ending endless wars are with the American public’s. He should work to withdraw our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and forge a different path forward in the Middle East—one that employs the many other, less expensive, and more effective tools in the statecraft toolbox.”

The poll also asked respondents about their feelings on Iran and the possibility of war with the country. When asked to think about what a war with Iran could look like, 39 percent felt it would probably be longer than three years and 34 percent said it would be fewer than three years. Perhaps more significant, many more people (47 percent) think war with Iran would be even more costly, in terms of American lives lost and dollars spent, than the war in Iraq. Only 21 percent feel it would be less so.

ABOUT YOUGOV AND SURVEY METHODOLOGY

YouGov is an international research, data, and analytics group headquartered in London with a proprietary web-based panel of over 8 million people globally.

YouGov interviewed 1053 respondents from January 10-13. These results were then matched down to a sample of 1000 to produce the final dataset. The respondents were matched to a sampling frame on gender, age, race, and education using the full 2016 American Community Survey, weighted to the sampling frame using propensity scores. The resulting weights were then post-stratified on 2016 Presidential vote choice, and a four-way stratification of gender, age (4-categories), race (4-categories), and education (4-categories), to produce the final weight.

FULL TOPLINE RESULTS

Do you believe the United States should be more or less militarily engaged in conflicts around the world?

7%       More engaged

27%     About the same level of engagement

52%     Less engaged

13%     Don’t know

Would you support or oppose the United States going to war with Iran?

11%     Strongly support

14%     Somewhat support

17%     Somewhat oppose

43%     Strongly oppose

15%     Don’t know

Do you agree or disagree that having an open-ended American military presence in Iraq is necessary for America’s safety?

14%     Strongly agree

27%     Somewhat agree

19%     Somewhat disagree

20%     Strongly disagree

20%     Don’t know

Do you support or oppose bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq?

37%     Strongly support

31%     Somewhat support

13%     Somewhat oppose

4%       Strongly oppose

16%     Don’t know

And, do you agree or disagree that having an open-ended American military presence in Afghanistan is necessary for America’s safety?

10%     Strongly agree

23%     Somewhat agree

25%     Somewhat disagree

20%     Strongly disagree

23%     Don’t know

Do you support or oppose bringing U.S. troops home from Afghanistan?

38%     Strongly support

31%     Somewhat support

10%     Somewhat oppose

4%       Strongly oppose

17%     Don’t know

Given what you know, if the U.S. did go to war with Iran, do you think it would be fewer than 3 years or more than 3 years?

39%     More than 3 years

34%     Fewer than 3 years

28%     Not sure

In terms of American lives lost and dollars spent, do you think war with Iran would be more or less than the war in Iraq?

23%     Much more

24%     More

16%     Less

5%       Much less

33%     Don’t know

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