Majority of voters disapprove of execution of Afghanistan withdrawal: poll

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Most voters disapprove of the execution of the Afghanistan withdrawal, according to a new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey released exclusively to The Hill.

The poll shows that 40 percent of registered voters “strongly disapprove” of the way the withdrawal last month was managed, and 19 percent “somewhat disapprove.” Only 17 percent “strongly approve,” and 24 percent “somewhat approve.” 

The poll shows, however, that most voters supported ending the war in Afghanistan in principle. A combined 58 percent approved of the decision to withdraw.

The Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan last month drew bipartisan pushback after the Taliban took over the country in a lightning-fast offensive that took lawmakers and other officials by surprise.

The group’s takeover of Kabul led to a scramble to evacuate U.S. citizens and Afghan allies, producing troubling images from the airport of people desperately trying to flee while armed Taliban members celebrated in the capital city. 

The situation was exacerbated after a suicide bombing killed 13 U.S. troops and scores of others near the Kabul airport.

“I can’t recall a single presidential event initiated by a president that went as wrong as Afghanistan and the president and administration are paying a heavy price in competence and credibility for its decisions. Huge majorities are calling the administration out and put the blame not on anyone else but Biden and his team,” said pollster Mark Penn.

The U.S. still has not gotten all of its citizens out of Afghanistan, and both Republicans and Democrats have criticized the White House, Pentagon and State Department for failing to adequately prepare to evacuate all of its personnel and allies.

Sixty-two percent of registered voters said the U.S. did not do “enough to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies from Afghanistan before the Taliban took over,” and 60 percent said Biden did not “live up to his promise to get all Americans out of Afghanistan” by his self-imposed Aug. 31 deadline.

The bungled withdrawal has also hurt the credibility of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, with 63 percent of registered voters saying in the poll that they think former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo performed better in the role.

The Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey of 1,578 registered voters was conducted from Sept. 15 to 16. It is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and the Harris Poll.

The survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.

Tags Afghanistan Afghanistan Afghanistan–United States relations Antony Blinken Antony Blinken fall of kabul Joe Biden Joe Biden Mark Penn Mike Pompeo Taliban War in Afghanistan
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