One month after President Obama announced the U.S. would bolster the Syrian opposition’s efforts to oust President Bashar al-Assad by providing the rebel forces with small arms and ammunition, a new Quinnipiac poll shows Americans still prefer to stay out of the Syrian conflict by a two to one margin.
President Obama received his worst-ever grade on foreign policy, with just 40% approval, in that same national poll conducted by Quinnipiac from June 28-July 8.
After months of deliberation over whether Assad’s forces used chemical weapons against the Syrian people–a violation of Obama's previously designated “red line”–the president approved plans to send limited weapons supplies to the opposing forces on June 13.
That same week, the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights released findings that 93,000 Syrians have been killed in the country’s more than two-year civil war, with 30,000 of those deaths occurring after November 2012.
Though a number of lawmakers denounced the president’s plan to arm the rebels as “too little, too late,” Congress is reportedly stalled over whether and how to help the rebel factions. The Washington Post reported that Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and CIA Director John Brennan, among other top administration officials, have placed calls to members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees in an effort to bring negotiations along. USA Today reported Wednesday that the U.S. arm shipments have not yet reached the Syrian rebel forces.
Notably, the Obama administration is required to inform members of Congress, but the arms shipments – which are handled by the CIA -- do not require congressional approval.
According to the Quinnipiac poll, a third of respondents approve of the president’s handling of the crisis in Syria, while nearly half disapprove. His overall job approval is virtually holding steady since May at 44% approval.