Pew, CNN Polls: Strong Opposition to Syria Strikes

by Sterling Beard

Two new polls show wide opposition to any U.S. military intervention in Syria, indicating that President Obama has a tough sell on his hands in the coming days

A new Pew/USA Today poll finds that 63 percent of Americans oppose intervening in Syria — up 15 percentage points from a week ago – with 45 percent saying they oppose airstrikes “very strongly.”

The biggest shifts came among Republicans and independents. A week ago, the GOP was about evenly divided, with 35 percent favoring strikes against 40 percent who did not; now, 70 percent of Republicans oppose attacking the Middle Eastern nation. Similarly, 66 percent of independents now oppose intervention, a 16-point increase from Pew’s previous poll. (Fifty-three percent of Democrats oppose intervention.)

 A new CNN poll finds 71 percent of respondents oppose intervention if Congress doesn’t pass an authorization for the use of military force, a measure at least the House currently looks unlikely to approve. Fifty-nine percent believe Congress shouldn’t pass such a resolution, and 55 percent would still oppose airstrikes even if Congress did pass it.

Those figures come even as a majority of CNN respondents, 82 percent, believe that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons on its civilians. Sixty-nine percent believe that it is not in the United States’ national interest to get involved.