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The American Public's View on U.S. Military Intervention in Syria

September 4, 2013 | Report

By Angela Miller, Stephen Miles

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The American people agree with the experts and expect the worst if the U.S. launches military strikes against Syria.

  • 6 in 10 Americans (61%) say that U.S. airstrikes in Syria are likely to lead to a long-term U.S. military commitment there. [Pew Poll, 8/29/13-9/1/13]
  • 3 in 4 Americans (74%) say that U.S. airstrikes in Syria are likely to create a backlash against the U.S. and its allies in the region. [Pew Poll, 8/29/13-9/1/13]
  • 7 in 10 Americans (68%) are following the news story very closely or fairly closely. [Pew Poll, 8/29/13-9/1/13]

Military strikes are unpopular with the American people, even when the use of chemical weapons is invoked.

  • Nearly 6 in 10 (59%) oppose the U.S. launching missile strikes against the Syrian government, even after learning that Syria used chemical weapons. [ABC News/Washington Post Poll, 8/28/13-9/1/13]

Military strikes are unpopular with the American people, especially when given other options.

  • When told that the U.S. is taking diplomatic and economic measures to try to stop the Syrian government from taking military action against its citizens, the plurality of Americans (40%) say humanitarian assistance is the best method of U.S. intervention. [NBC News Poll, 8/28-29/13]

Military strikes are unpopular with the American people, even if allies participate.

  • The majority of Americans (51%) oppose the U.S. and its allies launching missile strikes against the Syrian government even if other countries such as Great Britain and France participated. [ABC News/Washington Post Poll, 8/28/13-9/1/13]
  • Strikes against Syrian military targets with air missiles are a deeply unpopular option with our core European allies, including the United Kingdom (16% support military intervention) and France (32% support). [CNN Poll, 8/30/13]

Military strikes are expected to make the situation in Syria worse.

  • The majority of Americans (51%) say U.S. airstrikes in Syria are NOT likely to be effective in discouraging the use of chemical weapons. [Pew Poll, 8/29/13-9/1/13]
  • Only 1 in 4 Americans say military force will help improve the situation for civilians in Syria. [NBC News Poll, 8/28-29/13]

Military involvement in Syria is viewed as not in the national interest.

  • Only 1 in 5 Americans say taking military action against the Syrian government is in the United States’ national interest. [NBC News Poll, 8/28-29/13]

 

Note: President Obama's announcement that he would seek Congressional authorization occurred on Saturday, August 31, 2013. This handout was updated on Sept. 4, 2013.


 

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