Majority Wants Congressional Vote On Syria Intervention

A new poll from NBC News shows the vast majority of Americans supporting the idea of a Congressional vote prior to any U.S. intervention in Syria:

Nearly 80 percent of Americans believe President Barack Obama should receive congressional approval before using force in Syria, but the nation is divided over the scope of any potential strike, a new NBC News poll shows.

Fifty percent of Americans believe the United States should not intervene in the wake of suspected chemical weapons attacks by Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to the poll. But the public is more supportive of military action when it’s limited to launching cruise missiles from U.S. naval ships – 50 percent favor that kind of intervention, while 44 percent oppose it.

(…)

In this new NBC poll, 50 percent of respondents oppose the United States taking military action in response to Syria’s suspected use of chemical weapons, compared with 42 percent who support it.

And 58 percent agree with the statement that the use of chemical weapons by any country violates a “red line” that requires a significant U.S. response, including the possibility of military action.

Still, a whopping 79 percent of respondents – including nearly seven-in-10 Democrats and 90 percent of Republicans – say the president should be required to receive congressional approval before taking any action.

The poll also finds that only 21 percent think taking action against the Syrian government is in the national interest of the United States. By comparison, 33 percent disagree and 45 percent don’t know enough to have an opinion.

And just 27 percent say that U.S. military force will improve the situation for Syrian civilians, versus 41 percent who say it won’t.

Something tells me those 27% are being incredibly optimistic.

FILED UNDER: National Security, Public Opinion Polls, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed for too young in July 2021.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Presidents generally have higher approval ratings (or lower disapproval ratings) than President Obama has now before taking us to war. Indeed, President Obama had a lower disapproval rating before the Libyan campaign than he does now.

    Skepticism on the part of the people and weak presidential approval are both reasons that the president really needs to persuade the American people of his case before engaging in military action.

  2. al-Ameda says:

    Still, a whopping 79 percent of respondents – including nearly seven-in-10 Democrats and 90 percent of Republicans – say the president should be required to receive congressional approval before taking any action.

    Interesting numbers, right? That’s about as close to a consensus among Americans as you’re ever going to get these days. I agree, the president should take this up with Congress, let’s get people on the record, let’s not game the intelligence either.

  3. Rob in CT says:

    Funny about that 27%… wasn’t that the same percentage some wags labled the “crazification factor” in American politics?

  4. PD Shaw says:

    But the public is more supportive of military action when it’s limited to launching cruise missiles from U.S. naval ships – 50 percent favor that kind of intervention, while 44 percent oppose it.

    The poll question is more narrow that that — it also assumes that the strikes will be “meant to destroy military units and infrastructure that have been used to carry out chemical attacks.”

    I don’t know if we have the intelligence or capabilities to do that. But the poll question shows at least some support for specific deterrence or retaliatory punishment, but not necessarily general deterrence (imposing a cost for any use).

  5. al-Ameda says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Funny about that 27%… wasn’t that the same percentage some wags labled the “crazification factor” in American politics?

    Consider for a moment that 27% – these days about 25 are Republican and 1.75 are Democratic, and .25 are “Independent,” that tells you that over half the GOP is in on crazification.

  6. Scott says:

    @PD Shaw: That has been my thought also. I could almost support a strike if our intelligence is good enough to take out the problem, i.e., chemical weapons. However, I doubt our intelligence is that good. We may know where they were kept at one point in time but are they in the same location?, have they been moved?, etc. What else will be blasted in the process. Somehow, I believe that cruise missiles, as accurate as they can be, cannot be as targeted as we would like. Too many unknowns.

    As for the debate, I’m all for it. It is about time to have that debate with follow-on discussions to repeal S.J 23, the authorization for War on Terror. To be followed by a renewed discussion on the War Powers Act.

  7. PD Shaw says:

    @Scott: I’ve heard that direct attacks on any chemical storage facilities have been ruled out for fear of mass casualties. I’m still not sure we know what chemicals were used, how they were dispensed and by whom (as in which military units).

  8. Scott says:

    @PD Shaw: If the point is not to take out the issue of chemical weapons, then I’m baffled as to point of any other action. Which is exactly what most people are saying.

  9. Donald Sensing says:
  10. al-Ameda says:

    @Donald Sensing:

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, Judy, again, I have not made a decision, but I think it’s important that if, in fact, we make a choice to have repercussions for the use of chemical weapons, then the Assad regime, which is involved in a civil war, trying to protect itself, will have received a pretty strong signal, that in fact, it better not do it again. And that doesn’t solve all the problems inside of Syria, and, you know, it doesn’t, obviously end the death of innocent civilians inside of Syria.

    LOL!
    Kind of a misleading title for your link, given what he said to Judy Woodruff.