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Polls: Public Against Strike on Syria, Distrusts Obama's Leadership

Image: Polls: Public Against Strike on Syria, Distrusts Obama's Leadership

By Melanie Batley   |   Tuesday, 10 Sep 2013 10:17 AM

As President Barack Obama prepares to address the nation Tuesday night on the crisis in Syria, polls show the American public is increasingly opposed to U.S. involvement in the conflict and critical of the way the president has handled it.

According to a Wall Street Journal/ NBC News survey conducted Sept. 5-8, just 33 percent of respondents believe Congress should approve the president's proposal for U.S. military strikes against Syria, and less than a quarter think military action is in the national interest.

The survey of 1,000 adults also found that in just two weeks, support among Americans for limited airstrikes against Syrian military targets has slid from 50 percent to 44 percent.
"As the public hears more information, they are coming down on the side of 'Don't do it,'" said Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who conducted the survey with Democratic pollsters Fred Yang and Peter Hart.

The poll found that almost 60 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Obama has dealt with the conflict, compared to just one-third who say he has made a convincing case for U.S. strikes in the wake of Syrian President Bashar Assad's reported use of chemical weapons against his own people.

Meanwhile, a CNN/ORC poll conducted Sept. 6-8 also shows the public disapproves of the president's approach and he has failed to clearly communicate his strategy.

Specifically, the survey of 1,022 people indicates Americans are evenly divided on whether the president is trustworthy and only one in five people fully understands the president's policy on Syria.

"One concern is the messenger himself," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "The public's split right down the middle on whether Obama is a strong leader, whether he is honest and trustworthy, and whether he inspires confidence."

The CNN poll revealed that skepticism about American involvement in Syria may be driven by war weariness after almost a dozen years of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, leading to an overall reluctance to more American entanglements abroad.

Three-quarters of those surveyed said the U.S. should not play the role of world policeman.

A New York Times/CBS News poll conducted Sept. 6-8 confirmed those findings. A broad majority of the 1,011 Americans surveyed are opposed to a military strike, partially over concern about another protracted American involvement abroad, with 62 percent saying the United States should not take a leading role in trying to solve foreign conflicts.

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