Foreign Policy

New Poll: Vast majority of veterans and general public want troops home from Afghanistan, Iraq, less American military engagement in the world

May 6, 2021

ARLINGTON, Va.—A new YouGov poll commissioned by the Charles Koch Institute shows two-thirds of Americans support President Biden’s decision to bring our troops home from Afghanistan, would support a similar decision to withdraw troops from Iraq, and generally want less American military involvement in the world.

Will Ruger, Vice President of Research and Policy at the Charles Koch Institute, had this to say about the poll’s findings:

“As the United States begins to bring the last of its troops home from Afghanistan, President Biden should remain confident he has the strong support of the American people in his efforts to end our longest war. With so much polarization on other issues, it is notable two-thirds of the American people – including military veterans – support the president’s plan to end our involvement in the war in Afghanistan. Support for full withdrawal has also remained largely trans-partisan, with many Republicans and supporters of President Trump – who also vocally supported bringing our troops home from Afghanistan – endorsing the current plan to bring our troops home by September or sooner.

“More broadly, this polling confirms the American people are wary of more military intervention abroad and support ending our other endless wars including Iraq. Policy makers should take note of this, especially as so much of the conversation in elite foreign policy circles continues to be disconnected from the preferences of the American people.”

The poll, which comes as President Biden has started to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan, shows broad support for military withdrawal from the Middle East, with roughly two-thirds of respondents in favor of bringing our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and a general alignment with a more restrained view of the use of military force abroad.

Highlights from the survey include:

  • 68 percent of veterans (compared to 66 percent of the general population) support President Biden’s plan to bring our troops home from Afghanistan by September. In contrast, only 19 percent of veterans and 14 percent of the general population are opposed to the decision.
  • 51 percent of veterans and the general population think we be should be less militarily engaged around the world compared to about a third who think we should be more militarily engaged or stay the same.
  • 65 percent of veterans and 62 percent of the general population also think we should withdraw from Iraq by September. Only 19 percent of veterans and 16 percent of the general public would oppose such a decision.
  • A plurality of veterans and the general population do not support going to war with Russia over Ukraine.




YouGov is an international research, data, and analytics group headquartered in London with a proprietary web-based panel of over 8 million people globally.

Respondents were polled between April 17 to April 30, 2021. For both the military sample and general population sample, YouGov used their web-based panel to interview 1126 military service respondents and 897 general population respondents who were then matched down to a sample of 800 (each) to produce the final dataset. The respondents were matched to a sampling frame on gender, age, race, and education. The frame was constructed by stratified sampling from the full 2018 American Community Survey (ACS). In addition, further weighting and post-stratification were used. The estimated margin of error for the military sample and the general population sample is both +/- 4.2%.