American opposition to a military strike against the Assad regime for the alleged use of chemical weapons increased by 15 percentage points in the week since President Barack Obama announced his plans to go to Congress for authorization, according to a new Pew Research/USA Today poll.
Sixty three percent of those surveyed are now against a military strike, compared to 48 percent in opposition when the same poll asked the same question a week ago. The number in favor of intervention is unchanged at 28 percent, despite an all-out sales pitch by the Obama administration.
Republicans and Independents are largely responsible for the shift against a reprisal, with 70 percent and 66 percent respectively opposed, up from 40 percent and 50 percent. Meanwhile slightly more Democrats are now supporting the Obama administration’s efforts, but still 53 percent oppose the planned action.
A majority of Americans continue to believe that Obama has not sufficiently explained the rationale for a strike. Seventy five percent say that U.S. airstrikes will only make the situation in Syria worse, but at the same time 60 percent say the U.S. must show the world that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable.
In a sign that the Obama administration’s messaging has yet to break through, majorities disagree that the situation in Syria is a threat to American national security and that failure to act would lessen the United States’ credibility around the world.
Two to one, Americans believe that Congress should have the final say on any strikes, and not the president. The White House says Obama reserves the right to act, even without legislative sign-off.