Poll: Voters warming to Afghan troop increase

Voters are slowly warming to the possibility of a troop increase to Afghanistan, according to a new poll.

Almost half of those surveyed in Gallup's latest measure, released Wednesday, indicated they would support a troop boost of some kind -- either the addition of 40,000 service members, as Gen. Stanley McChrystal first requested, or a number slightly less than that.

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Taken together, support for a new round of deployments is up about five points over a period of roughly two weeks, according to Gallup.

Meanwhile, support for a troop reduction has dropped five points, from 44 percent at the beginning of the month to about 39 percent now.

However, Wednesday's data does not suggest Democrats in Congress will escape politically unscathed from any troop increase -- some version of which President Barack Obama will reportedly announce next Tuesday.

A close look at the poll's cross tabs reveals that almost six of 10 Democrats would rather the White House begin to reduce its military footprint in Afghanistan, not add to it. That wariness seems increasingly evident in the party's leaders, who have expressed concerns throughout November about the potential size, cost and duration of a new round of troop deployments.

By contrast, about 65 percent of Republican voters signaled they hoped the president deployed the minimum 40,000 troops that McChrystal specified in a report unearthed in September, while Independents seem almost evenly split on the question.