In Winning Over Helmand, U.S. Forces Have A Way To Go
The U.S. is slated for withdrawal from Afghanistan in June of 2011--just months before voters go to the polls and decide whether or not to sent President Obama back to the White House. Between now and then, much work and fighting remains to be done. In the Taliban stronghold of Helmand province, which has proven difficult for U.S. and U.N. coalition forces throughout the nine-year war, ABC News polling guru Gary Langer reports that residents have little confidence in the U.S. forces: according to ABC's polling in Helmand, just 19 percent give positive ratings to the U.S. performance there, and the Taliban leads the U.S. 25 percent to 18 percent in terms of strong local support.
The good news: in terms of overall support (not just "strong"), U.S. forces are more popular than the Taliban, by a margin of 58 percent to 44 percent.
Keep in mind while reading these data: polling in Afghanistan is difficult, especially in an area like Helmand, and surveys are extremely scarce, so it's hard to compare ABC's data to any relevant pool.