Poll: After scandal, resignation, public still has positive view of Petraeus

The public still views former CIA Director David Petraeus more positively than negatively after he resigned and admitted an extramarital affair, according to a new poll from Gallup.

The Gallup poll found Petraeus was viewed favorably by 40 percent of respondents and unfavorably by 30, in the first survey conducted of Petraeus since he resigned.

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That was still a drop of 15 points from the last time Gallup asked for respondents’ views of the retired four-star general, as he had 55-11 favorability in March 2011, when he was still commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The poll suggests that Petraeus’s military accomplishments — he’s credited with orchestrating the surge in Iraq as well as Afghanistan — could still outlive the scandal that led him to resign this month.

President Obama said that’s what he hoped would happen when asked about Petraeus at a news conference last week.

“My main hope right now is, is that he and his family are able to move on and that this ends up being a single side note on what has otherwise been an extraordinary career,” Obama said.

The Petraeus scandal has dominated the news in the past week, as new details emerged that sounded straight out of a soap opera, and as his successor in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, got ensnared as well when the FBI turned 20,000 to 30,000 pages of “potentially inappropriate” communications to the Pentagon.

While his favorability remained positive, a majority of Americans supported Petraeus’s decision to resign from the CIA, with 51 percent calling it the right move and 41 percent saying he should have remained.

There’s a clear gender gap in support for Petraeus, something that was evident before the scandal as well.

Petraeus had 63 percent favorability among men in March 2011, which fell to 46 percent this month. Among women, he had 48 percent favorability in 2011 drop to 34 this month.

The Gallup poll surveyed 1,015 adults from Thursday to Sunday this past week. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.