King: Poll complicating Obama's case on Syria
September 9th, 2013
10:28 AM ET
5 years ago

King: Poll complicating Obama's case on Syria

Washington (CNN) - President Obama's high-stakes sales pitch on Syria this week is complicated by two powerful forces of public opinion: most Americans don't think there is a vital U.S. national security interest at stake, and don't believe military strikes will achieve any significant goal for the United States.

The skepticism drives the deep opposition to military strikes seen in a new CNN/ORC poll released Monday: 59% of Americans oppose a congressional resolution authorizing military action in Syria. And if Congress fails to pass such a resolution, 71% of Americans say they would oppose the president launching strikes anyway.

President Obama is taking the lead this week trying to sway public opinion, knowing a boost in the polls would change what at the moment is an extraordinarily difficult vote count in Congress. Six television interviews Monday and a nationally televised address Tuesday are the big pieces of the president's plan.

In those appearances, it is clear the biggest challenge is the profound underlying skepticism about another U.S. military commitment in the Middle East.

In our new poll, 72% of Americans say strikes would not achieve significant goals for the United States, and 69% say use of force in Syria is not in the U.S. national interest.

A deeper look shows how the president's biggest problem is with Republicans and self-described independents, meaning he is trying to persuade people who are already inclined to oppose the president on many or most issues.

For example, six in 10 Democrats say strikes would not achieve any significant goals for the United States. But 74% of independents believe that, and 83% of Republicans.

And while 56% of the president's fellow Democrats don't see intervening in Syria as being in the U.S.'s national interest, that number spikes to 76% among independents and 71% of Republicans.

So the president is not only losing the political "right" in this debate, the skepticism is also quite deep in the middle of the political spectrum.

In a nutshell, it is proving difficult for the president to win support, post-Iraq war especially, if people think the challenge isn't a top U.S. security challenge, and on top of that believe what the president is planning won't change things for the better and could become more of a long-term mess.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    "How do you want your representative to vote? I want mine to vote "yes" and "no" at the same time."

    I've called my rep's office and encouraged a "yes" vote. Way to sit on the fence, Rudy.
    I'm just not convinced. I want to see or hear the proof of who was behind the attacks. Rumor has it, that there are intercepted phone call conversations between top Syrian officials, but not Assad. I also think that the Congress should delay any voting until the results of the U.N. teams are in.

    September 9, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    tom l. wrote:

    "We do know exactly what happened in Benghazi. Were not sure as to who did it, and where their weapons came from"

    I enjoy our exchanges as you are level headed and are very reasonable when we have disagreements. But your statement is one big contradiction. ... ... ... Aren't you the least bit suspicious of our govt when they can't give us some information from Benghazi yet they can from Syria? Why can't they find that out? The real is answer is they know exactly what happened they just haven't told the American people what happened.
    Like I said. we know exactly what happened in Benghazi, but not who carried it out. I have my own suspicions, and if I'm right then we will never know who attacked the compound. Your actual problem is that you want to know what happened in Wash. DC, not Benghazi.....and you've already been told that, too. You just don't like the answers.

    September 9, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. Silence DoGood

    @ voice of r3ason (cute, treason):
    "Stop trying to market a war".
    Where, besides Faux, do you see us going to war with boots on the ground...
    War does not equal "boots on the ground". Maybe you can explain to the widows and orphans in Pakistan that it was all OK because the Obama drone that fried their family did not have "boots". If Obama bombs again – innocent people will die again. Peace loving people need to speak out!

    September 9, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    George Cook

    Let's see now IF Mr. Obama can make the TUFF Decisions as leader of this great country.....Panning it off ot Congress...altho legally just a move to "share the blame' IF things don't go right.
    Members on both sides of the aisle were calling for Pres. Obama to seek Congressional approval before acting unilaterally.

    September 9, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama: "I'm worn out by this whole thing and the useless debate over it."

    Agreed. Either way the vote goes, it isn't going have the political fallout the media is pumping us up for. Beyond that, I am done arguing the issue. What happens ... happens.

    September 9, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. sonny chapman

    "Share The Blame". Bush/Cheney played that game better than they planned the wars they actually waged.

    September 9, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Dennis Rodman / Donald Trump

    Celebrity Disorder 2016

    September 9, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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