HPU Poll: Majority of North Carolinians Said War in Afghanistan Wasn’t Worth the Cost

Oct 01st, 2021

HPU Poll: Majority of North Carolinians Said War in Afghanistan Wasn’t Worth the Cost

North Carolinians see China as a top national security threat in a more dangerous world.


HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 1, 2021 – According to a new High Point University Poll, a majority (56%) of North Carolina residents said that U.S. military action in Afghanistan was not worth the cost and North Carolina’s public is somewhat divided over whether the U.S. should have kept troops in Afghanistan.

Only about one-fourth (24%) of North Carolinians said that the U.S. military action in Afghanistan since 2001 was worth the cost. A little less than half (47%) said that the U.S. should have kept a military presence in Afghanistan until the situation stabilized. More than one-third (37%) said that the U.S. was right to remove troops.

The North Carolina public appears to be focused on recent events in Afghanistan as nearly half (47%) said they have read or heard a lot about recent events there. Another 44% said they have read or heard at least a little about events there, and a small percentage (6%) said they have read or heard nothing at all.

When asked which country they perceive as the single biggest threat to U.S. national security, 36% said China. Russia and Afghanistan were each seen as the single biggest threat by 16% of North Carolinians. North Korea (12%) and Iran (6%) were less likely to be seen as the biggest threat to U.S. national security.

On a scale of 0 – 10, where 0 meant no threat at all and 10 meant an extremely dangerous threat, North Carolinians gave China an average of 7.3, which was the only average score over 7 among the other included countries of Russia, North Korea, Iran and Afghanistan.

North Carolinians were also somewhat divided over the role of the U.S. in the world, as well as the relative level of safety for the U.S. and its people in the international system. More North Carolina residents (47%) said the U.S. should take an active part in world affairs than the approximately one-third (34%) who said the U.S. should stay out of world affairs. More than two-thirds of North Carolina’s public see the world becoming more dangerous for the U.S. and the American people. Half (50%) of respondents said they feel less safe than they did a year ago.

“The HPU Poll finds North Carolinians at a time of uncertainty in foreign affairs,” said Dr. Martin Kifer, director of the HPU Poll and associate professor of political science. “Many North Carolinians perceive a more dangerous world around them but are divided on whether the U.S. should take a more active role in confronting threats.”

HPU Poll World AffairsAll adults – Take an Active Part or Stay Out of Foreign Affairs (September 2021)

Now we would like to ask you some questions about foreign affairs issues. Do you think it will be best for the future of the country if we take an active part in world affairs, or if we stay out of world affairs?

Active part – 47%

Stay out – 34%

Unsure – 19%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Sept. 10 – 24, n = 876 and credibility interval is +/- 3.6%)

All adults – Safer or More Dangerous World (September 2021)

Thinking about current U.S. relations with the rest of the world, would you say that the world is becoming safer or more dangerous for the U.S. and the American people?

Safer – 14%

More dangerous – 69%

Unsure – 17%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Sept. 10 – 24, n = 876 and credibility interval is +/- 3.6%)

All adults – Safer or More Dangerous World (September 2021)

On a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 means not a threat at all and 10 means an extremely dangerous threat, how much of a threat is each of these countries to U.S. national security? (COUNTRIES PRESENTED IN RANDOMIZED ORDER. AVERAGE IS MEAN OF RESPONSES ON THE 0 – 10 SCALE)

Average (Mean)  

0

 

1

 

2

 

3

 

4

 

5

 

6

 

7

 

8

 

9

 

10

 

Unsure

China 7.3 5 1 3 3 3 9 6 9 11 11 31 10
Russia 6.9 4 2 3 4 4 10 8 10 14 10 22 10
North Korea 6.9 4 3 4 5 4 9 6 8 12 10 26 10
Afghanistan 6.9 6 2 3 4 4 10 6 8 10 10 28 9
Iran 6.8 5 1 3 4 5 10 8 10 12 9 22 11

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Sept. 10 – 24, n = 876 and credibility interval is +/- 3.6%)

NC residents – Single Biggest National Security Threat to US (September 2021)

Which of these countries do you perceive as the single biggest threat to U.S. national security? (COUNTRIES PRESENTED IN RANDOMIZED ORDER)

China – 36%

Russia – 16%

Afghanistan – 16%

North Korea – 12 %

Iran – 6%

Some other country – 3%

Unsure – 12%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Sept. 10 – 24, n = 876 and credibility interval is +/- 3.6%)

NC residents – How Much Heard about War in Afghanistan (September 2021)

How much, if anything, have you read or heard about recent events in Afghanistan? Have you heard… a lot, a little, or nothing at all?

A lot – 47%

A little – 44%

Nothing at all – 6%

Unsure – 4%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Sept. 10 – 24, n = 876 and credibility interval is +/- 3.6%)

NC residents – Remove or Keep Troops in Afghanistan (September 2021)

Do you think the U.S. should have kept military troops in Afghanistan until the situation had stabilized, or do you think the U.S. was right to remove troops from Afghanistan?

Keeping military troops in Afghanistan until the situation is stabilized – 47%

Right to remove troops from Afghanistan – 37%

Unsure – 16%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Sept. 10 – 24, n = 876 and credibility interval is +/- 3.6%)

HPU Poll Military in AfghanistanNC residents – War in Afghanistan Worth the Cost (September 2021)

Overall, would you say U.S. military action in Afghanistan since 2001 has been worth the cost or not worth the cost?

Worth the cost – 24%

Not worth the cost – 56%

Unsure – 20%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Sept. 10 – 24, n = 876 and credibility interval is +/- 3.6%)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Sept. 10 through 24, 2021 and an online survey fielded at the same time. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 876 adults interviewed online (772 respondents) as well as landline or cellular telephones (104 respondents). The Survey Research Center contracted with dynata, formerly Research Now SSI to acquire these samples and fielded the online survey using the SRC’s Qualtrics platform. This is a combined sample of live phone interviews and online interviews. The online sampling is from a panel of respondents, so their participation does not adhere to usual assumptions associated with random selection. Therefore, it is not appropriate to assign a classic margin of sampling error for the results. In this case, the SRC provides a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points to account for a traditional 95% confidence interval for the estimates (plus or minus 3.3 percentage points) and a design effect of 1.1 (based on the weighting). The data is weighted toward population estimates for age, gender, education and race/ethnicity-based on U.S. Census numbers for North Carolina. Factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional errors into the findings of opinion polls. Details from this survey are available here.

Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website. The materials online include past press releases as well as memos summarizing the findings (including approval ratings) for each poll since 2010.

The HPU Poll reports methodological details in accordance with the standards set out by AAPOR’s Transparency Initiative, and the HPU Survey Research Center is a Charter Member of the Initiative. For more information, click here.

You can follow the HPU Poll on Twitter.

Dr. Martin Kifer, chair and associate professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Brian McDonald is the associate director of the HPU Poll.