Essential Report

Australian troops in Afghanistan

Aug 29, 2011

Q.  Thinking about the Australian troops in Afghanistan, do you think Australia should –

25 Oct 2010 21 Mar 2011 Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens
Increase the number of troops in Afghanistan 10% 5% 4% 5% 3% 3%
Keep the same number of troops in Afghanistan 30% 30% 26% 26% 32% 15%
Withdraw our troops from Afghanistan 47% 56% 64% 61% 60% 75%
Don’t know 14% 9% 7% 7% 5% 6%

64% (up 8%) think Australia should withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, 26% (down 4%) think we should maintain troop numbers and 4% (down 1%) think we should increase them.

Since October last year, support for withdrawal of Australian troops has increased from 47% to 64%. There was majority support for withdrawal by all voting groups – 60% of Lib/Nat voters, 61% labor and 75% Greens. Support for withdrawal was also similar across age, gender and income.

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Reasons for Afghanistan War

Oct 11, 2010

Q. Here are some reasons which are given for continuing to have Australian involvement in the war in Afghanistan. For each one could you tell me whether you think that is a very good reason, a fairly good reason, or not really a good reason at all.

Very good reason Fairly good reason Not a good reason at all Don’t know
To fight Al Qaeda and terrorism 34% 33% 25% 8%
To maintain our strategic alliance with the US 11% 36% 45% 8%
To build democracy in Afghanistan 30% 35% 25% 9%
To further human rights in Afghanistan, such as the rights of women 43% 32% 17% 8%

Total very good reason Labor Liberal Greens
To fight Al Qaeda and terrorism 34% 35% 44% 11%
To maintain our strategic alliance with the US 11% 12% 14% 7%
To build democracy in Afghanistan 30% 34% 34% 16%
To further human rights in Afghanistan, such as the rights of women 43% 48% 45% 38%

Respondents believe the best reasons for continuing Australian involvement in Afghanistan are to further human rights such as the rights of women (43%) and to fight Al Qaeda and terrorism (34%).

Liberal/National voters are more inclined to nominate fighting Al Qaeda and terrorism (44%) while Labor voters are more likely to think furthering human rights in Afghanistan, such as the rights of women (48%) is a very good reason.

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