Poll: Americans Strongly in Favor of Diplomacy on Syria
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – As Syria has agreed to a Russian plan to surrender its chemical weapons stockpile, a survey has shown three-quarters of Americans support efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria through an international agreement to control chemical weapons.
The poll of 776 Americans, conducted over three days this week, indicates that just 25 percent of Americans oppose diplomacy to deal with the crisis that was ignited by the August 21 chemical attack in a Damascus suburb that US officials say killed more than 1,400 adults and children.
The survey reflects the anti-war sentiment that has shadowed President Barack Obama's request for congressional authorization for a military strike against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government in light of the chemical attack.
The United States has blamed Assad's government for the attack, while Russia and Assad say it was the work of rebel forces. The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has denied involvement and said the rebels were responsible.
An offer by Russia, an ally of Syria, to help put Syria's stock of chemical weapons under international control has raised the possibility of an agreement that could help Obama avoid an embarrassing rejection from a skeptical Congress, or an unpopular military action.
The poll found that Obama's speech to the nation on Tuesday had virtually no effect on Americans' reluctance to engage in Syria's civil war after a decade of US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In polling of 1,386 Americans conducted Monday through Friday, about 62 percent said the United States should not intervene in Syria, virtually the same percentage as a week earlier.
Reuters/Ipsos pollsters also found that most Americans were not swayed by Obama's argument that the United States had a compelling interest to get involved in Syria to stop the spread of chemical weapons and protect US national security.
About 65 percent of Americans said Syria's problems were "none of our business," the same percentage that said so two weeks earlier.
Only 33 percent of the 776 people surveyed in the three-day poll said that responding to the use of chemical weapons in Syria was "in the national interests of the United States." About 47 percent said it was not.
When it comes to intervention in Syria, public support is "pretty well stabilized right under 1 in 5" Americans, Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said.
Obama has been criticized by people in both parties for what some have called a muddled policy on Syria. This week's polling suggested the president's approval ratings had taken a hit during the crisis.
Only about 35 percent of Americans said they were satisfied with how Obama and the US government had handled the situation, while 65 percent were dissatisfied. Two weeks ago, 41 percent had been satisfied and 59 percent had been dissatisfied.
Obama's overall approval rating has dipped during the past month as well.
Reuters/Ipsos tracking polls found last Sunday that nearly 57 percent of Americans disapproved of the job Obama had done as president, up from nearly 53 percent on August 18, just before the chemical attack in Syria.