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This Is How Little Americans Care About Afghanistan

You wouldn’t know it from watching the news, but the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan probably isn’t a political crisis for President Joe Biden.

SO WHAT

Republicans might want to be careful about overplaying their hand. 

THE DATA

A USA Today/Suffolk University poll released Tuesday showed Biden’s approval rating at 41%, down several points from his average last week, with only 26% of Americans supporting his handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal.

OK, BUT

The war is unpopular: 53% of the public backs Biden’s decision to withdraw, and 60% say the Afghanistan war was a mistake in the first place, with most of the blame going to former President George W. Bush, according to the poll.

Biden has other problems: Biden’s average approval rating had been falling for months before Kabul fell last week — amid declining support for the president’s handling of the economy and COVID-19.

Nobody votes on foreign policy anyway: In an Aug. 14-17 NBC News poll, which spanned Kabul’s Aug. 15 fall to the Taliban, Afghanistan didn’t even make the list of Americans’ top political concerns.

  • Apathy about foreign policy is the norm in U.S. history, political scientist Seth Masket pointed out Wednesday in a Politico op-ed headlined “Will Afghanistan Take Biden Down? Not Likely.”

THE RIGHT RESPONSE

While Afghanistan has given Republicans a new talking point about Biden’s incompetence and boosted Fox News’ ratings, the GOP appears to be reading the room ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

  • In attack ads launched Wednesday against 15 vulnerable Democrats, the House Republicans’ campaign arm focuses entirely on inflation instead of the Afghanistan withdrawal.

 

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