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Majority wants Congress to back Obama's authorization against ISIS

But the public is divided when it comes to confidence in the president’s strategy, and whether Obama will be remembered more for ending a war or starting one.
President Obama Delivers Statement On Legislation Authorizing Military Force Against ISIS (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty)
U.S. President Barack Obama announces he has sent Congress an authorization for the use of military force against Islamic State in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on Feb. 11, 2015 in Washington, DC.

A majority of Americans support President Barack Obama’s proposed authorization to use force against ISIS, the Islamic State group, according to an exclusive NBC News/Marist poll conducted after Obama sent his authorization to Congress. 

But the public is divided when it comes to having confidence in the president’s strategy against ISIS, as well as whether Obama will be remembered more for ending a war — like the Iraq war — or starting a new one. 

On Wednesday, the president announced that he was asking Congress to vote to allow the use of U.S. military force against ISIS. His proposed authorization would last for three years and would have no geographical limitations. 

It also calls for flexibility for limited ground operations by the U.S. military, but rules out a longstanding ground force. 

When told these details, 54% of Americans say they want their member of Congress to vote for this authorization. This includes a majority of Democrats (60%), Republicans (52%) and independents (51%).

Just 32% of all respondents want their member of Congress to vote against such an authorization. 

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But confidence in Obama's strategy to combat ISIS is mixed — with 45% having a "great deal" or a "good amount" of confidence, versus 48% who have little to no confidence. 

And Americans are divided over whether President Obama will be remembered more for ending a war (40%) or starting a new one (44%). These numbers break along party lines, with 59% of Democrats saying Obama will be remembered for ending a war, compared with 62% of Republicans who say he'll be remembered for starting a new one. 

The NBC/Marist poll also finds that two-thirds of Americans (66%) believe the United States and its allies will be able to defeat ISIS; only 40% think Obama’s proposed authorization will receive bipartisan support in Congress; and a plurality of respondents prefer sending a limited number of U.S. forces to combat ISIS (40%), versus a large number (26%) or no ground forces at all (26%).

The NBC/Marist poll was conducted Feb. 11-12 of 603 adults, and it has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 4.0 percentage points.