A little more than a third of American voters think the U.S. should put boots on the ground in Iraq, even as the Islamic State forces continue to strengthen there, a new Rasmussen Reports poll released on Friday found.
The survey of 1,000 likely U.S. voters, taken May 19 and 20, shows a dip of support for U.S. troops joining a military coalition in Iraq, falling to 35 percent this month from 40 percent two months ago and from a February high of 52 percent, Rasmussen said.
President Barack Obama's handling of ISIS has registered major disapproval with voters, Rasmussen also noted in releasing a new poll on Thursday. Such disapproval has hit its "highest level to date," the pollster said, noting that 43 percent believe ISIS is winning the war in Iraq as it continues to take over cities around the country. That figure marks a five-point increase over the past two months.
Still, putting U.S. soldiers in harm's way there earns tepid support. In the latest Rasmussen survey, 24 percent of voters said they were undecided about a strategy that would send U.S. soldiers back into Iraq to fight the Islamic State surge.
If other nations refuse to fight ISIS, however, just 26 percent think the U.S. should go after the terrorist group alone, Rasmussen said. That figure marks a 7 percent decline from when the question was polled last September.
Public opinion on a "boots on the ground" strategy flies in the face of ideas floated by some 2016 GOP candidates, CNN noted.
Former New York Gov. George Pataki told CNN's John King that troops should be sent in to "degrade" ISIS, marking a split among Republicans on the issue of a renewed ground war as political debate continues on whether the Iraq War was a mistake.
Arizona Sen. John McCain told CNN Friday that the president's contention that the U.S. was not losing the war to ISIS at this point "mind-boggling."
"It's mind-boggling that the president could keep saying, and (administration officials) could keep saying what they're saying while thousands of people are being butchered, burning bodies in the streets, executions, beheadings," McCain told CNN, noting the takeover this week of the town of Ramadi, where U.S. soldiers had once proudly and successfully fought.
"This is a disaster. It was predicted by me and Sen. Lindsey Graham, and it's going to go on until we develop a strategy," he said.
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