New polling data shows a majority of Americans support President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, despite some criticism from Washington.
An early January Morning Consult/Politico poll, taken weeks after Trump first announced the pullout on Dec. 19, revealed 49 percent of Americans supported the withdrawal. Meanwhile, 33 percent opposed the move, while 17 percent said they had no opinion or didn’t know.
The pollsters asked 1,989 registered voters whether they agreed that the United States was engaged in too many military conflicts in Middle Eastern countries, such as Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and should prioritize getting Americans back safely. The survey was taken from Jan. 4 to Jan. 6.
It has been four years since the beginning of the U.S.-led intervention in the Syrian civil war. Trump made the decision to withdraw, citing the defeat of ISIS and that U.S. forces no longer needed to be there. A Department of Defense spokesman confirmed Jan. 11 that the coalition has started the withdrawal process.
While a clear majority of Americans still oppose having troops in Syria, the polling data also revealed that Democrats have changed their opinion since Trump took office. Republicans, meanwhile, stayed largely unchanged on the issue.
The majority of recent support for keeping U.S. troops in Syria came from Democrat voters, whereas Republicans and Independents largely favored the removal of troops. This was also seen during the 2018 midterm elections when out of those who voted Democrat, only 28 percent supported the withdrawal while 54 percent opposed it.
But in the years during former President Barack Obama’s administration, polling data repeatedly showed how vast majorities of Democrats actually favored the withdrawal of troops from Middle Eastern countries such as Afghanistan. In 2008, Obama pledged to end the war in Afghanistan and bring all the troops home.
In a June 2011 poll by the Pew Research Center, two-thirds of Democrats (67 percent) said troops should be removed as soon as possible from Afghanistan, up from 43 percent the year before.
Recent reports speculated that Trump was planning to withdraw about 7,000 of the 14,000 or so U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but a White House official said no such order has been sent. In the recent Morning Consult/Politico poll, 51 percent said they would support a decision by Trump to withdraw half the of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, while 27 percent said they would oppose it.
Meanwhile, for those who voted for then-presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016, only 26 percent supported the removal of troops from Syria while 59 percent opposed it. Trump voters again overwhelmingly supported the withdrawal by 76 percent to 14 percent at the time.