Poll: Americans want boots on the ground against ISIS

Smoke rises after an U.S.-led air strike in the Syrian town of Kobani on Oct. 8, 2014.
Smoke rises after an U.S.-led air strike in the Syrian town of Kobani on Oct. 8, 2014.

More Americans now say that they believe U.S. military action against ISIS should include American combat troops on the ground, according to a new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll.

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Forty-one percent of respondents believe both troops on the ground and airstrikes are necessary for the mission against ISIS, versus 35% who think it should be restricted to airstrikes; another 15% say no military action should be taken.

That’s a reversal from the NBC/WSJ poll in September, when 40% wanted just airstrikes and 34 wanted both airstrikes and combat troops.

The seven-point increase in those also wanting U.S. ground troops has been fueled mostly by groups that make up the GOP base. More self-described Republicans (up 14 points), men over 50 years old (up 18), white men (up 17) and seniors (up 10) now advocate for troops on the ground in the fight against the terror group. There’s been virtually no change since September among Democrats, young people, and white women.

About six in 10 Americans say that the military actions against ISIS are in the national interest of the United States, and only 16% disagree. That number is virtually unchanged in the past six weeks.

A majority of Americans disapprove of the job President Barack Obama is doing of handling the ISIS situation. Fifty-five percent of respondents (including about a third of Democrats) gave him a thumbs down, while just 37% approve.

The NBC/WSJ poll was conducted Oct. 8-12 of 1,000 registered voters – including 350 cell phone-only respondents and another 41 who were reached on a cell phone but who also have a landline – and it has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.