A plurality of Americans, 46 percent, believe President Obama’s current plan to remove combat troops from Afghanistan is about right, while only 29 percent think the drawn down should be quicker, according to Pew polling. Interestingly though self-identified Democrats are the political group that is least supportive of a faster withdraw.
A third of both Republicans and Independents think Obama’s Afghan draw down is not quick enough, while just one fifth of all Democrats feel that way. There is little desire among Democrats for a longer mission but for the most the party members are rally around their partisan leader’s position.
A similar partisan phenomena can be observed in the polling on Libya. President Obama has indicated how much war he wants and for the most part regular Democrats appetite for more war has increased to match Obama’s.
It is a powerful reminder of how signals from partisan leaders can go a long way to shape the views of their base on some issues. The President isn’t some hapless slave to popular opinion. His bully pulpit actually is powerful and can cause people to change their minds.