CNN Instant Poll: Did Obama move the needle on Syria?
September 10th, 2013
10:36 PM ET
1 year ago

CNN Instant Poll: Did Obama move the needle on Syria?

Washington (CNN) – A majority of Americans who watched President Barack Obama's prime time address to the nation on Tuesday said they favor the approach to Syria that the president spelled out in his speech, according to an instant poll.

But an exclusive CNN/ORC International survey of speech-watchers conducted immediately after the conclusion of Obama's address also indicates that those who tuned into the address were split on whether the president made the case for military action against Syria.

Sixty percent of those questioned said it was not in the national interests of the U.S. to be involved in the bloody two year old Syrian civil war, and more than half said the speech did not change their confidence in the president's leadership on military and international issues.

According to the poll, 61% said they support the president's position on Syria, with 37% saying they oppose his response to the Syrian government's alleged use of chemical weapons against its own citizens.

The president said in his speech that he's asked congressional leaders "to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force" against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's military while diplomatic efforts to address the crisis continue. "It's too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments," Obama said. "But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force."

The poll indicates that nearly two-thirds of those who watched the speech think that the situation in Syria is likely to be resolved through diplomatic efforts, with 35% disagreeing.

But Obama said that he's ordered the U.S. military "to maintain their current posture to keep the pressure on Assad, and to be in a position to respond if diplomacy fails."

According to the poll, those who watched the president were divided on whether Obama made a convincing case in his speech for U.S. military action in Syria, with 47% saying he did and 50% saying he didn't.

The survey indicates that the speech didn't move the needle very much on whether U.S. air strikes against Syria would achieve significant goals for the U.S. Thirty percent of speech-watchers questioned before the address said yes. That number edged up to 36% following the address. And 39% said it was in the national interests of the U.S. to be involved in the conflict in Syria, edging up from 30% before the speech. Sixty percent said it was not in the national interests to get involved, down just five points from before the speech.

Fifty-two percent said following the speech that they were more confident of the president's leadership on military and international issues, with 16% saying they were less confident. But 52% said the speech did not change their opinion.

The sample of speech-watchers in the poll was 37% Democrats, 20% Republicans, and 43% independents. CNN's best estimate of the number of Democrats in the voting-age population as a whole indicates that the sample is about seven percentage points more Democratic than the general public.

The CNN poll was conducted immediately after the speech over the phone by ORC International with 361 adult Americans who watched the address. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus five percentage points.

soundoff (288 Responses)
  1. southernpatriot

    Mike Trottier: You are so funny! Lets see, did Obama work with republicans on ObamaNoCare? Nope. Rammed it through in the middle of the night. After all ya gotta PASS it in order to READ it says your own Nancy Pee.

    Name ONE time Obamie One has TRIED to work with republicans? where is his civility when he bashes them all to hell. God I cant wait to take back the Senate in 2016! Then he WILL be a lameduck duckie! Before he destroys America.

    September 11, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  2. Marty

    It convinced me this "Clown" hasn't had a plan since he came to Washington, he needs to go back to Chicago and try to learn how to organize a three car parade.

    September 11, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  3. ashton

    Obama did it again. Used his eloquent words and delivery to convince the "average" thinking person that he is a brilliant leader and politician. He was and always will be a small time community leader with very little insight into anything that requires strong decisions. He is a good speaker- but no substance and has no credibility amongst the "thinking" folks.. hate to state this – but he is also a lair- with he verbal ability to white wash his lies.

    September 11, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. Pete

    You doubters out there don't realize what Pres.Obama did !!He got Russia,China involved because of the military pressure,threats he aimed at Syrias Assad..They most certainly don't want to get involved with the most modern,best trained naval fleet in the world,OURS!!Read up how Russias navy is scared to tangle with us and believe me China would rather stay away period if they could..But both knew even if we launched a limited missile strike against Syria those countrys would have to clean up Syrias mess and both don't want or need that as well!!So again Pres.Obamas poker hand worked whether you liked it or not and remember now as before there won't be boots on the ground or innocent deaths like in Iraq,Afghanistan that Bush got us into with his lies!!

    September 11, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    southernpatriot

    Mike Trottier: You are so funny! Lets see, did Obama work with republicans on ObamaNoCare? Nope. Rammed it through in the middle of the night. After all ya gotta PASS it in order to READ it says your own Nancy Pee.

    Name ONE time Obamie One has TRIED to work with republicans? where is his civility when he bashes them all to hell. God I cant wait to take back the Senate in 2016! Then he WILL be a lameduck duckie! Before he destroys America.
    ------------
    I shall accept your challenge. Pres. Obama tried to work with Republicans on health care reform. Remember when they had big sit down televised discussion, with the President serving as moderator, over health care? Nope? Figured you didn't.

    BTW, the Republicans actually boycotted the committee meetings and open discussions regarding health care reform. It something to do with how they "didn't want to participate" in the dismantling of our economy, our health care system, et cetera, et cetera. It's in all of the TV sound bites from June 2009, right after the Stimulus was passed. Fox played them all 24/7.

    September 11, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  6. kcp

    No – speech was dry and he read it well, but convinces us that the US should Stay Out

    September 11, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. Obama-meter

    This did nothing, in fact it was a speech that showed me that this President was taken out behind the barn and whipped by Putin. Many years ago, it took Ronald Reagan a long time and considerable money to get rid of the "evil empire". Putin single handedly changed the dynamics of the world political scene in one sentence when he said he would work with Syria to hand-over the chemical stockpiles to an international group and have them destroyed.

    September 11, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  8. barryinlasvegas

    Not only NO, but HELL NO. He is still self disillusioned that he can cover up his incompetency with a speech. The time for talking is over – has been for a long time. What he should be doing he is incapable of – leading.

    September 11, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. rammajamma

    I don't think a President has ever delivered a speech that was met with a more sense of irrelevancy than the one delivered yesterday. President Obama has essentially deteriorated the power of the office of the President of the United States by his handling of the Syrian crisis. His and the actions of his administration have essentially turned Vladimir Putin and Russia (fka Soviet Union) into the leaders of the free world. Bill Clinton was right in 2008, it's amateur hour. Hillary was right too... that 3:00 a.m. phone call has not only gone unanswered several times during this administration, the line is disconnected.

    September 11, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. clevercandi

    As Plato said, "The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."

    September 11, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. PJ

    It can be handled Diplomatically. I don't want any offensive attack against Syria. Syria is of no strategic interest to us and we should not fight for USA ideals which may not concur with other countries.

    September 11, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. Tony

    Rammajamma, Putin offers that Syria, Russia's ally, gives up its chemical weapons, before the UN issues its report on Syria's suspected chemical attack, and before Obama fires a missile at Syria. If Boehner offers a concession to Obama on any issue, before Obama does anything, you can be sure that the Republican base will not be hailing Boehner as a great leader.

    September 11, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. pam cairnes

    I thought his speech was brilliant, I had doubt too, as to if we should become involved in Syria but he is right. We cannot let another tyrunt bring another holocust to our time. I remember watching a movie about the plight of the jews and asking my granfather how we could let that happen. He said we did not know. Well, we know and we cannot let that happen again. He was eloquent, educated and makes me proud to of voted for his twice

    September 11, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
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