CBS NEWS/NEW YORK TIMES POLLFor release: Tuesday, September 10, 20133:00 am EDT
*Embargoed Until Tuesday, Sept. 10
at 3:00 am EDT*
President Obama Faces Skeptical Public on Syria
September 6-8, 2013
A majority of Americans (61%) oppose U.S. airstrikes against Syria; just three in ten arein favor.
There are concerns that U.S. military action in Syria will become a long and costlyinvolvement (66% are very concerned), or will lead to a widespread regional war (64%).60% think it will increase the threat of terrorism against the U.S.
President Obama receives low marks for his handling of the issue: just 33% approve,and 56% disapprove. Only 14% say he has clearly explained what U.S. goals in Syriawould be.
While three in four think the Syrian government probably used chemical weapons, 65%do not think the U.S. has a responsibility to do something about the fighting in Syria.
69% say the President should not proceed with airstrikes if Congress does not authorizethem.61% currently oppose airstrikes in response to the reported chemical weapon attacks used bythe Syrian government; just 30% favor that. Opposition is stronger among Republicans andindependents than it is among Democrats.
U.S. Military Airstrikes Against Syria?
TotalRepsDemsIndsFavor30%28%41%23%Oppose61655067While six in ten are against airstrikes, even more (74%) are opposed to the U.S. providing armsto anti-government forces in Syria, and 86% oppose sending U.S. ground troops into Syria,something the administration has not proposed.
U.S. Action in Syria
FavorOpposeU.S. military airstrikes30%61Provide arms to anti-government forces19%74Sending U.S. ground troops12%86
Concerns and Repercussions
Opposition may stem in part from the real concerns Americans have about possiblerepercussions from U.S. military action in Syria. About two in three are very concerned thatsuch action will become a long and costly involvement for the U.S.; that it will lead to a morewidespread war in neighboring countries and other parts of the Middle East, and that it will kill or harm innocent civilians.