New poll finds nearly half of Americans oppose Syria strike

Updated
New York City policemen stand guard as Syrian-Americans against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government shout slogans towards Assad supporters taking...
New York City policemen stand guard as Syrian-Americans against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government shout slogans towards Assad supporters taking...
Adrees Latif/Reuters

Nearly half of Americans oppose military airstrikes in Syria, according to a new poll.

Even as President Obama attempts to obtain congressional support to authorize a “limited” strike on the Bashar al-Assad regime, Pew Research Center found that 48% of Americans oppose military airstrikes in the country as a response to the Assad regime’s suspected use of chemical weapons against civilians. In contrast, 29% said they support airstrikes.

While President Obama said Tuesday he was “confident” he can muster the necessary votes from Congress for U.S. military action in Syria, the new Pew poll finds that his party is not fully on board. Among Democrats, 29% of Democrats favor conducting airstrikes against Syria while 48% are opposed. Republicans remain more divided, with 35% favoring airstrikes and 40% opposed.

Pew also asked participants about the potential consequences of airstrikes, and found broad skepticism about the effectiveness of U.S. airstrikes.A military response is likely to create a backlash against the U.S. and its allies in the region, said 74%, while 61% said it is likely that airstrikes will lead to a long-term military commitment there. Just 33% agreed that airstrikes would be effective in discouraging the use of chemical weapons and a majority–51%–believed that it is unlikely airstrikes would accomplish that goal.

Americans have remained skeptical of U.S. military action in Syria. In June, a Pew survey found that 70% of Americans opposed to providing arms to Syrian rebels, a shift in opinion found from an April Pew survey which showed more support for a U.S.-led military response if the use of chemical weapons was confirmed.

The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released last week showed similar results with 50% of Americans opposing U.S. military action in response to the Assad regime’s suspected use of chemical weapons. A larger majority than Tuesday’s Pew poll–42%–support the U.S. taking military action in the country.

The poll also finds that most believe Syrian President Assad is guilty of using chemical weapons: 53% of Americans say there is clear evidence the Syrian government used those weapons against civilians while 23% say there is not enough evidence.

The new survey was conducted Aug. 29-Sept. 1 by the Pew Research Center among 1,000 adults. The margin of sampling error for overall results is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

New poll finds nearly half of Americans oppose Syria strike

Updated