President Biden continues to draw strong criticism from both sides of the aisle for his handling of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. The Taliban is seizing control in the region and thousands of Americans remain trapped in the country with no clear plan for rescue from Biden. While polls show most Americans are weary of the costly 20-year U.S. occupation of Afghanistan and support bringing troops home, a majority are losing trust in Biden’s ability to lead.
A new NBC News poll taken over the weekend shows Biden’s approval rating dropped below 50% for the first time since he took office. Biden’s approval now sits at 49%, down from 53% in April. His disapproval rating has climbed significantly over the same time, from 39% in April to 48% this weekend. NBC News notes these declines are largely driven by Independents, rural residents and white respondents. The same poll finds Biden has suffered a 16-point drop in approval on his handling of the coronavirus since April and a 5-point drop in approval on his handling of the economy over the same time period.
The crisis in Afghanistan has only exacerbated the public’s frustration with Biden and further called into question his competence. A CBS poll taken late last week shows by a margin of two to one (67% to 33%) Americans do not have faith Biden has a clear plan for evacuating American civilizations from Afghanistan.
“By a margin of two to one (67% to 33%) Americans do not have faith Biden has a clear plan for evacuating American civilizations from Afghanistan.”
The same poll finds that by a margin of 60% to 4%, Americans believe the threat of terrorism against the United States is greater now that the Taliban is in charge in Afghanistan, and by a margin of 44% to 5% Americans say the withdrawal of troops from the region has gone ‘very bad’. Over half of Americans also say they disapprove of the way Biden is handling the removal of troops from Afghanistan, as well as his handling of issues with Russia and China.
“By a margin of 60% to 4%, Americans believe the threat of terrorism against the United States is greater now that the Taliban is in charge in Afghanistan.”
As Market Research Foundation pointed out last week, the bungled withdrawal is a deeply unsatisfactory end to twenty years of conflict, thousands of lives lost on both sides, and a cost to U.S. taxpayers of over 2 trillion dollars and still counting.
Polling from last week found Americans believe 62% to 35% that the war in Afghanistan was not worth fighting, and a recent YouGov poll finds 77% of Americans believe the U.S. and other Western allies did not win the war in Afghanistan.
The deadly fashion in which Biden chose to withdraw from Afghanistan and his initial ignorance of the chaos are prompting many Americans to question his competence. Although on Sunday Biden did admit evacuating the rest of the Americans and Afghan allies will be “hard and painful”, many are wondering why none of this was foreseen and avoided.
The bungled withdrawal combined with the fact that the Taliban is once again installed in Afghanistan open a series of questions about the Biden administration’s foreign policy objectives, and Biden’s ability to competently lead.