WASHINGTON: Two new polls out yesterday have found strong opposition to US military intervention in Syria among a war-weary American public despite increasing support in Washington for punitive strikes.
A survey carried out by the Pew Research Center over the weekend found that 48 percent of Americans oppose “conducting military air strikes” against Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons compared to 29 percent who support such action.
A Washington Post-ABC news poll found a similar margin, with nearly six in 10 Americans opposed to missile strikes against Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s regime.
The polls found opposition across the political spectrum.
The Pew poll found that just 29 percent of Democrats support US airstrikes compared to 48 percent who are opposed.
Republicans are slightly more supportive of military action, with 35 percent in favor and 40 percent opposed, the Pew poll said.
The Post-ABC poll, however, found a nearly identical level of opposition among Democrats and Republicans, and Independents even more opposed to military action, with just 30 percent in favor and 66 percent opposed.
The Pew poll found that 74 percent of Americans believe a US strike would likely spark a backlash against Washington and its allies in the region, and 61 percent think it would lead to a long-term US military commitment there.
The low levels of support for military action could complicate President Barack Obama’s efforts to rally congressional support for punitive strikes against the Syrian regime over its alleged use of chemical weapons.
Obama shocked the world over the weekend by saying he would seek congressional authorisation for any military intervention after appearing on the verge of ordering punitive cruise missile strikes against Assad’s forces and assets.
Obama won support yesterday from key Republican leaders in the House, but faces an uphill battle convincing critics on the left and right.