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Poll: 68% lack confidence U.S. will achieve goals against ISIS


Americans by a 3-to-1 margin support President Barack Obama’s decision to take military action against the Islamic terrorist group called ISIS, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll conducted after the president’s primetime speech on Wednesday,.

 But nearly 70% have little or “just some” confidence that the United States will accomplish the goals the president laid out, expressing doubts that the U.S. and its allies will be able to degrade and defeat the organization that beheaded another western hostage – this time a British aid worker, David Haines.

“The bottom line: The president has made his case to the American public, and like other presidents who faced war and peace issues, support usually follows,” said Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who helped conduct this survey. “The difference in this military encounter is that,  right out of the box, Americans are skeptical if this will work.” 

According to the poll, 62% of voters say they support Obama’s decision to take action against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, while 22% oppose it.

Yet a combined 68% of voters say they have “very little” or “just some” confidence that Obama’s goals of degrading and eliminating the threat posed by ISIS will be achieved. By comparison, only 28 % said they had “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of confidence.

The poll also shows that 38%of voters approve Obama’s job in handling foreign policy.

A separate survey – re-contacting respondents from last week’s national NBC/WSJ poll after the president’s speech – finds a slight increase in the percentage of Americans who believe that military action against ISIS is in the nation’s interest.

Among those re-contacted, 65% had said last week that action was in the United States’ interest (compared with 61 percent of all respondents).

But after being re-contacted, that number increased to 68%

Additionally among those re-contacted, 26% said that Obama’s speech on Wednesday had given them a more favorable impression of the president, another 20% had a less favorable opinion and 53% said it made no difference.

The NBC/WSJ/Annenberg poll was conducted Sept. 11-13 of 554 registered voters, and it has a margin of error of plus-minus 5.5 percentage points.

And the NBC/WSJ re-contact survey was conducted  Sept. 11-13 of 207 re-contacted voters.