CNN Poll: Most Americans see no U.S. obligation in Syria
February 14th, 2012
07:00 PM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll: Most Americans see no U.S. obligation in Syria

(CNN) - Nearly three-quarters of Americans believe the United States does not have a responsibility to do something about the fighting in Syria between government forces and anti-government groups, according to a new national survey.

In a CNN/ORC/International poll released Tuesday, 73% of Americans said the U.S. has no obligation to respond to the ongoing unrest, while 25% agreed with the notion. Two percent had no opinion.

See full results (pdf)

Those numbers reflect similar poll results last year regarding Libya shortly before the U.S. and allies established a no-fly zone over the country.

According to a Pew Research Center survey last March, 63% said the U.S. has no obligation while 27% of American said the U.S. has a responsibility to do something about the fighting in Libya. Ten percent had no opinion.

U.N. officials estimate 6,000 people have died in Syria since protests seeking political reforms and the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad began nearly a year ago.

On Monday, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights denounced the Syrian government's "ongoing onslaught" against its citizens, and multiple Syrians told CNN they believe the country is bracing for a full blown war.

So far, the Obama administration has recalled the U.S. ambassador to Syria and imposed sanctions, while pushing unsuccessfully for a U.N. Security Council resolution against the Assad regime.

However, it has resisted calls by veteran Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona and some Republican presidential candidates to take a larger role in backing the Syrian opposition movement.

Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who caucuses with Democrats, also called on the U.S. to take action Sunday.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from February 10-13, with 1,026 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Also see:

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Protestors disrupt Santorum event, get arrested

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Pro-Romney super PAC increases buy in Michigan


Filed under: CNN/ORC International poll • Syria
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Hubert39

    We should do in Syria what we have done in Africa over the past 60 plus years. NOTHING.
    Iran. It's to bad God can't point his finger at our military in the Middle East and say...Get your butts back to the Western Hemisphere where you belong. STOP trying to start wars.

    February 14, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  2. Not Policeman of the World

    Unbeknownst to U.S. politicians the majority of Americans are tired of bankrupting the U.S. while playing policeman of the world and being hated by much of that same world.

    February 14, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  3. James

    I'm sympathetic to the citizens of Syria but we have got to cut back our meddling in foreign affairs. We're already still mired in Iraq and worse in Afghanistan. Libya worked out well enough but I would still rather not be involved in the first place. Now with Iran poking and prodding at us, the last thing we need is another foreign conflict. Let the rest of the world step in for once if they feel it appropriate to do so, if they then ask for our help specifically we can consider it. Until then let them handle their own revolution and quit giving the rest of the world reasons to hate us.

    February 14, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  4. ML

    Syria is buddies with Russia and China. They have the infleuence...let them shoulder the burden this time around. Put pressure on Russia and China to save the day!

    February 14, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  5. K hARLAN

    The President took the issue of SYRIA to the United Nations and China and Russia said no!! Take a hint Obama!! I don't care either!! Every nation is out for itself and their interests.. I AGREE!! When will we get a leader who cares about OUR INTERESTS?? tHIS COUNTRY DOES NOT OWE ANY NATION OR ITS PEOPLE AMERICAN BLOOD OR MONEY!!

    February 14, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  6. Lulz

    Most saw no obligation to Libya too.

    February 14, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  7. ANGEL

    i think when Bashar al-Assad is in our BACK YARDS your mindless POLLS will change!

    February 14, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  8. Oscar

    I think the US should do something in order to save innocent lives as no other country in the world can. It's just a humanitarian action. I pray for the end of this massmurder..

    February 14, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  9. Gibraltar Jabal Al Tariq

    Of course, we don't see any obligation. There is no oil there and Israel's not giving us directions on how we should conduct our Middle Eastern policy.

    February 14, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  10. DoubleEM

    It is clear that desire to get into every world's conflict that is big enough – goes from military lobbyists of both parties and NEVER American people. No wonder our economy is doing soooo good. Who has time for it when there are contracts to be made with new artificial governments and money to spend on military operations.

    February 14, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  11. Derrique3

    Obama ignored the popular vote in Libya, but this happens to be an election year. He would be a fool to oppose the majority this time around. I'm sure he will somehow find a way to blame the GOP for 'obstructing' his trip over there.

    February 14, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  12. Taskmaster

    The only responsibility that we have in Syria is to stay out of it. These are the same people who on 9/11 danced in the streets and passed out candy to the children . Celebrating the deaths of the american infadels.Now they place their children in harms way to use for propaganda.The arab league is attempting to unite all muslim countries for their own political agenda.

    February 14, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  13. Lee

    As though a poll has any meaning for the government. They do what they want regardless of how the people feel or what the people want.

    February 14, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  14. joyce

    If at some point things would get that bad in the US, no other country would come help us out. I feel for all the poor people but we can not take care of the whole world, That is one reason that we have the problerms we do.

    February 14, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    All it would take would be for Obama to advocate intervention, and his drones will line up like he tell them to. Don't get me wrong, though. Bush had his drones too. Counting both the Republican drones and the Democratic drones, the country is about 70% drones. That's about the middle 70% of the bell curve of intelligence. Below that is 15% mentally re-tarded. And above that is the 15% of actually intelligent people.

    February 14, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  16. joey

    Two questions here – 1] Does anyone even know for sure who the opposition rebels ARE enough to deal with them, and who is more or less in charge? 2] Have the Syrian rebels actually asked for assistance? These two questions and answers were fairly clear in Libya and even then the rebels only asked for help to "level" the "playing" field, and did their own fighting. I have heard or read nothing that gives me answers to these two crucial questions, and they need to be answered before even considering any type of intervention.

    February 14, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  17. basicmorals

    tell me what you think... theres a big dude walking down the street and he see's a woman being raped. He has the ability to stop it, and he is the stongest person in sight. what sould he do? Civilians are being slaughtered my a military force. The United states is the only word super power. What should they do?.....

    February 14, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  18. John Locke

    Our own country us falling apart! Kudos to the majority of Americans who oppose unconstitutional intervention in the affairs of foreign nations! Why won't these same people back the only presidential candidate that shares those sentiments?

    February 14, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. Patrick

    I've said it before on these pages and I will say it again. The American public is right. We need to stay out of this one and let the Arab League handle their own business. They don't want us there and we don't want to be there. I refuse to believe any politician who says that the United States has a moral obligation to help those people. They may ask for our help, but we will only create a worse situation. My frustration with Southwest Asia seems to boil down to the fact that in order for those countries to function, they NEED to be run by ruthless dictators. Who else could possibly create order out of all those factions, religions and societies? People in that region simply cannot and will not work together. If you are going to shove all that immaturity into a single country, apparently you need a heavy-handed parent to keep it in order. Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Egypt....the list is growing. Take away their regime and you have nothing but scattered groups all demanding to run the country without compromise. They are all lawless now. Syria is next.

    February 14, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  20. Name

    Yeah but i bet if rolls were reversed WE would be BEGGING other countries to come help us!!!! Think about that...

    February 14, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  21. Larry L

    I wonder how Americans would feel if the injustices were happening in Israel? How about Saudi Arabia? Our sense of public outrage needs to be tied to something tangible – like money or oil.

    Like Libya, we need to respond carefully and in conjunction with other nations. If the Syrian people are willing to pay the price their revolution will be successful. The American Soldier/Marine has paid the price for too many other nations in their quest for freedom. President Obama has shown a remarkable ability to manage these events and Americans should trust his initiatives.

    February 14, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  22. Arjun

    Glad that most Americans see the same way. We can't afford to do anything plus it's none of our business with their affairs

    February 14, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  23. sjdsh

    FINALLY some 'Truthiness'....see... that wasn't so hard.& Majority of Syrians AGREE: No Further Backing Militant Extremists!!

    February 14, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  24. AhhPures

    It's a civil war for God's sake. History is full of civil wars and wars of insurrection. The U.S. has no business there, let the Arab states handle it.

    February 14, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  25. Lindsey

    Ron Paul sees no obligation to Syria, Egypt, Libya etc. etc. His loyalty is to the U.S.and not the U.N. unlike the rest of the presidential candidates! Ron Paul 2012!!!!!!!!!

    February 14, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
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