Whatever mealy-mouthed words Joe Biden has used to justify his disgraceful rout from Afghanistan so far, they have resulted in a unanimity rarely seen in American polling. Unfortunately for Biden, Americans across the political spectrum appear united in disgust at the collapse Biden engineered. Overwhelming majorities in a new ABC/Ipsos poll agree that US troops should not leave Afghanistan until all Americans have been evacuated:
More than 8 in 10 (84%) Americans think U.S. troops should remain in the country until all Americans are evacuated, and just over 7 in 10 (71%) think they should stay until all Afghans who helped the United States are evacuated as well.
Breaking from the typical polarization that characterizes public attitudes, support for U.S. troops staying is strikingly consistent across party lines. Among Republicans, Democrats and independents, overwhelming majorities — 87%, 86% and 86%, respectively — believe U.S. troops should not leave until all Americans are out of Afghanistan. The partisan gap is also negligible for keeping troops in Afghanistan until all Afghans who aided the United States are evacuated, with 77% of Republicans, 72% of Democrats and 70% of independents saying troops should stay until that happens.
Normally, we’d dig into the crosstabs, but there’s so little difference in the partisan demos that it’s not really worth it. (Neither ABC nor Ipsos has supplied them either.) It is worth noting that a majority of Americans either think that the withdrawal makes no difference to our vulnerability to terrorism (56%) or makes us safer (an additional 7%), but 37% believe it will make us less safe. Two-thirds no are somewhat or very worried about the possibility of a major terrorist attack in the United States, and one can imagine where that will go once al-Qaeda, ISIS, and every other radical-Islamist terror network starts using Afghanistan as a recruitment and training base.
In that sense, Biden’s approval rating on Afghanistan appears to be a lagging indicator:
Fewer than 4 in 10 (38%) Americans approve of the president’s handling of Afghanistan — 17 points lower than the share who said they approved of Biden’s handling of the U.S. troop withdrawal in a July 23-24 ABC News/Ipsos poll.
The troops are scheduled to retreat tomorrow, assuming the rocket fire incoming at the Kabul airport doesn’t accelerate that schedule. When Americans start showing up on TV reports trapped in Kabul or other cities, that approval rating will start plumbing depths not seen since Richard Nixon 47 years ago. A few of the Democrats might rally back to Biden, but it’s almost impossible to predict that will happen in this unprecedented kind of national disgrace — an American president abandoning hundreds or thousands of American citizens and legal residents to a terror-network army like the Taliban.
The White House thinks this is just another political crisis in a news cycle measured in minutes. Infamy and cowardice have much longer cycles, as Biden is about to find out.