DURHAM, N.H. -- New Hampshire residents continue to be pessimistic about the progress of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and support for the United States having gone to war against Iraq matches an all-time low. However, approval of the Obama administration’s handling of the war in Iraq remains high.
These findings are based on the latest WMUR Granite State Poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. Five hundred twenty (520) randomly selected New Hampshire adults were interviewed by telephone between Jan. 27 and Feb. 6, 2011. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4.3 percent.
As the popular uprisings have flared in the Middles East, New Hampshire adults remain only marginally supportive of the Obama administration’s handling of foreign policy. Currently, 49 percent approve of how President Obama is handling foreign affairs, 46 percent disapprove, and 5 percent are neutral. There is a partisan divide in approval of Obama’s handling of foreign affairs with 86 percent of Democrats, but only 19 percent of Republicans approving.
The War in Afghanistan
Most New Hampshire adults believe the war in Afghanistan is going badly for the United States. In the most recent Granite State Poll, 57 percent of New Hampshire adults think the war in Afghanistan is going badly, 38 percent think it is going well, and 5 percent don’t know. The percentage of those who believe the war is going badly has declined somewhat from 65 percent in July to 57 percent today.
Presidential Approval on Afghanistan
While most think the war in Afghanistan is going badly for the United States, New Hampshire adults remain split in their opinions of how well President Obama is handling the situation there. Currently, 49 percent of New Hampshire adults approve of his handling of Afghanistan, 43 percent disapprove, and 8 percent are neutral or don’t know. This measure is unchanged since July.
Democrats (67 percent) are most likely to approve of his handling of the situation in Afghanistan, while Republicans (56 percent) and political independents (46 percent) are most likely to disapprove.
Presidential Approval on Iraq
Approval of President Obama’s handling of the situation in Iraq has remained stable. In the most recent WMUR Granite State Poll, 59 percent of New Hampshire adults approve of his handling of Iraq, 32 percent disapprove, and 9 percent are neutral. Obama holds majority support from Democrats and from political independents – 77 percent and 54 percent, respectively. More Republicans approve (45 percent) than disapprove (41 percent) of Obama’s handling of the war in Iraq.
Opposition toward the United States having gone to war with Iraq is at an all-time high. Currently, only 35 percent of Granite Staters support the United States having gone to war with Iraq, 60 percent oppose it, and 4 percent are neutral.
Can the United States Win?
Granite Staters continue to be pessimistic about the United States winning the war in Iraq. Currently, only 34 percent of New Hampshire adults think the United States can win the Iraq war, 53 percent think the United States cannot win, and 13 percent don’t know. Republicans continue to be the most optimistic about U.S. prospects of victory in Iraq but now, less than half of Republicans (48 percent) believe the United States can win. Optimism about winning the war in Iraq among Republicans has been declining since President Obama was elected. Democrats continue to be the least optimistic with only 18 percent thinking winning the Iraq war is possible.
For complete tabular results, visit http://www.unh.edu/survey-center/news/pdf/gsp2011_winter_warsapp021611.pdf.
The UNH Survey Center has conducted survey research projects at the University of New Hampshire since 1976. The center has grown rapidly during the past 30 years and now conducts approximately 40 to 50 major survey projects each year. More information: http://www.unh.edu/survey-center/.
The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.
Andrew Smith, director of the UNH Survey Center.