- Posted September 10, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Poll Finds Support Fading for Syria Attack
In a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey, just 33% of those polled said Congress should approve Mr. Obama's request to attack Syria, while less than a quarter thinks military action is in the national interest.
More daunting for the president is that support for U.S. involvement is declining as the political negotiations over a potential strike play out.
At the end of August, an NBC News poll found that half of Americans backed a limited set of airstrikes to destroy Syrian military units in response to an alleged government-directed gas attack that killed more than 1,400 civilians. In less than two weeks since then, support for a limited attack dropped to 44%, the new poll found.
"As the public hears more information, they are coming down on the side of 'don't do it,' " said Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who conducted the survey with Democratic pollsters Fred Yang and Peter Hart.
Public unease over military action in Syria overlaps with growing opposition to interventions aimed at promoting freedom and democracy abroad, and increasing support for focusing the country's resources on needs at home.
Almost 75% of participants in the new poll said the country should focus on domestic problems instead of working to promote democracy elsewhere, a sharp shift from 2005, when 54% said the U.S. should keep its focus at home.
The shift was dramatic among conservatives, underscoring a widening isolationist streak within the GOP. Since 2005, support for promoting democracy overseas has fallen among Republicans to 19% from 60%. More than three-quarters of Republicans now say the U.S. should focus on challenges at home, up from just 32% who said that in 2005.
The poll found almost six in 10 Americans expressing disapproval of how Mr. Obama has dealt with the Syria situation and just a third saying he had made a convincing case for action.
"The American red line is, 'Stay out,' and it will be a heavy lift to move public opinion with just one speech," said Mr. Hart, the Democratic pollster, speaking of Mr. Obama's Tuesday night televised address to the nation.
Should Congress turn down the president's request to authorize force, 59% of those polled said they would oppose Mr. Obama moving ahead on his own to deploy strikes against Syria.