Half of all Americans said they opposed U.S. taking military action in Syria over the suspected use of chemical weapons by the President Bashar al-Assad, while 42% support it according to an NBC News poll released Friday.
A majority of Americans–79%–also want President Obama to seek congressional approval before opting to strike Syria the poll also found.
When asked if they would support a limited strike involving cruise missiles fired from naval ships–similar to what the Obama administration appears to be weighing–50% said they would support that action while 44% opposed it.
Congressional leaders have pressed the president to seek a vote from lawmakers before making a decision. Top Obama administration officials, including Sec. of Defense Chuck Hagel, briefed a number of congressional leaders on its intel on Syria, yet several said they were not yet convinced that a U.S. strike was warranted.
“On the call, I agreed with Speaker Boehner and other members who stated that there needs to be more consultation with all Members of Congress,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “And that the case needs to be made to the American people.”
Fifty-eight percent of those polled agreed that the use of chemical weapons violates a “red line” that merits an American response, but the poll shows a war-weary country. Just a fifth of all Americans believe a military action would be in America’s best interest and a plurality, 41%, said it won’t help the situation in Syria either.
The NBC poll was conducted Aug. 28-29 among 700 adults. It has a margin of plus-minus 3.7 percentage points.