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Majority want U.S. out of Afghanistan

This Department of Defense photo taken on June 5, 2011 shows Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates as he meets with the unit command at a Forward Operating Base in Afghanistan. UPI/Cherie Cullen/DOD
This Department of Defense photo taken on June 5, 2011 shows Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates as he meets with the unit command at a Forward Operating Base in Afghanistan. UPI/Cherie Cullen/DOD | License Photo

WASHINGTON, June 22 (UPI) -- For the first time, more than half of U.S. residents favor an immediate withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, a poll released Wednesday indicated.

The Pew Research Center found 56 percent of those surveyed want U.S. troops out now, up 8 percentage points from a poll last month immediately after the killing of Osama bin Laden. Only 39 percent said U.S. forces should stay until Afghanistan has become stable.

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President Obama was expected to announce a schedule for the drawn-down of U.S. troops in a televised speech Wednesday night.

Republican support for withdrawal has risen 12 points in a year, Pew said, with 43 percent now in favor, while 53 percent say the troops should remain. Two-thirds of Democrats, 67 percent, say troops should be withdrawn immediately, up from 43 percent a year ago.

A slim majority of 57 percent still says the United States was right to get involved in Afghanistan, starting what is now the longest war in U.S. history.

The poll was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International June 15-19. A total of 1,502 adults were interviewed by telephone. The margin of error ranged between 3.5 and 6 percentage points.

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