American people are split over whether the country can achieve its goals in Afghanistan, a Gallup poll reported Friday. Almost three-quarters of those surveyed, 73 percent, said they fear spending in Afghanistan will interfere with domestic goals, Gallup said. Just over half, 51 percent, said they support the President Barack Obama's strategy, while 48 percent said they oppose it. The poll found 48 percent said they think the United States is certain or likely to achieve its goals in Afghanistan, while 45 percent disagreed. Republicans are slightly more optimistic, with 56 percent expecting U.S. goals to be met compared with 47 percent of independents and 45 percent of Democrats. Gallup polled 1,005 adults by telephone Wednesday, the day after President Obama said he would increase troop levels in Afghanistan. The margin of error is 4 percentage points. Fifty-six percent of Republicans and 58% of Democrats support Obama's plan even though Democrats also are inclined to say that fewer troops should be sent and that they should be pulled out sooner. "We're used to these vast gulfs between Republicans and Democrats on Afghanistan," Republican pollster Whit Ayres says. "The fact that a Democratic president came out with a position on it has evaporated the difference between the two parties." Independents are the most skeptical, dividing 45%-44%. By nearly 3-1, Americans worry that the costs of the war will make it more difficult to deal with problems close to home. There is also concern that withdrawing troops might make the nation more vulnerable to terrorist attacks, but the 55%-43% margin isn't as wide. The survey of 1,005 adults has a margin of error of +/4 percentage points. Among its findings: Thirty-eight percent call the decision to deploy 30,000 more troops "about the right number." Nearly as many say the number is too high; 18% say it's too low. Just one in five agree with the timetable to begin withdrawing forces in 2011. Nearly half say it's too soon to set a timetable, and one in four say troops should begin coming home earlier. The poll finds little appetite for the "war surtax" proposed by House Appropriations Chairman Dave Obey, D-Wis., and others to pay for the war. By 68%-24%, those surveyed oppose the idea. By 2-1, Americans say sending troops to Afghanistan in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was "the right thing" to do, but they split almost evenly, 48%-45%, on whether the United States will achieve its goals there. The Nielsen ratings company reported that 40.8 million Americans watched Obama's speech, his highest TV ratings since addressing Congress in February. Testifying Thursday on Capitol Hill, Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Pakistan a critical part of the new war plan. "We have a lot of work to do in trying to convince them ... that we are actually interested in a long-term partnership with them," Gates said.