During the Republican primary season, Mitt Romney strongly criticized President Obama's "failed leadership" on Afghanistan and support for a timetable to end the war. But those views are putting him at odds with an increasing chunk of the voters he will need to win the White House in November.
According to a Pew poll released on Wednesday, 59 percent of swing voters now favor a "rapid U.S. troop withdrawal." The survey defined swing voters as those who are either undecided between Romney and President Obama or may still change their minds.
Even among Romney's committed supporters, the numbers were not strong. Forty-eight percent of his voters said they want to end the war as soon as possible, compared to 46 percent who want to remain until the situation is "stabilized."
Those numbers come after other recent polling confirming that the Republican party base Romney needs to court is abandoning its war support in larger numbers. Last week, The Washington Post found that a nearly equal number of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, 55 percent, no longer back the mission in Afghanistan.The Pew poll was taken before the Los Angeles Times controversially released pictures on Wednesday of American soldiers posing for photos with the body parts of dead Afghan suicide bombers. The pictures sparked only the latest in a series of angry reactions to recent American misdeeds in Afghanistan, which have included accidental burnings of the Quran, the shooting of civilians, and images of Marines urinating on Taliban corpses. The latest incident raises the possibility that support for the war may decline even further in the months ahead.