NBC Poll: Public Skeptical of Military Action in Syria, Wants Congressional Approval

by Sterling Beard

In an NBC poll conducted August 28-29, 50 percent of respondents said that they opposed taking military action in Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons, while 42 percent favored taking action. However, when asked if they would support a specific scenario in which military action was limited to cruise-missile strikes launched from U.S. naval ships against Syrian military infrastructure, 50 percent of respondents said that they would, while 44 percent remained opposed. 

Only 21 percent believe that it is in the United States’ national interest to take military action against Syria, and 41 percent, a plurality, believe that American action won’t improve the situation for Syrian civilians. Still, 58 percent agreed that the use of chemical weapons by any country crosses a “red line” that requires a “significant” American response, including the possibility of military action. 

An overwhelming majority believe that President Obama should be required to receive approval from Congress before taking military action in Syria. Seventy-nine percent thought the president should receive such approval, while only 16 percent said it wasn’t necessary.

President Obama’s approval numbers are underwater as well. His overall approval rating of 44 percent ties the lowest mark he’s ever recevied in the survey. And only 41 percent approve of his handling of foreign policy, which NBC notes is an all-time low; a plurality of 44 percent disapprove of the way he has handled Syria. 

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