Voters support the initial U.S. airstrikes in Syria ordered last week by President Donald Trump, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll — but there is less backing for an escalation of hostilities that includes ground forces.
Nearly two-thirds of voters, 66 percent, support last week’s airstrikes on a Syrian air field, the poll shows. That includes 35 percent who strongly support the strikes, and another 31 percent who somewhat support them. Only 24 percent oppose the strikes, and 10 percent don’t have an opinion.
Support for the strikes is fairly bipartisan, the poll shows. While 82 percent of Republicans back the strikes, so do 57 percent of Democratic voters and 59 percent of independents.
The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows a wider margin of support than other public polls. In describing the action to poll respondents, the POLITICO/Morning Consult survey did not say that the strikes were ordered by Trump. Additionally, the poll described the strikes as a response “to deadly chemical weapons attacks against Syrian citizens, allegedly ordered by [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad.” Other surveys do not include the information that the chemical weapons attacks were deadly — or don’t mention the chemical weapons at all.
Other questions suggest a limited appetite for military action in Syria.
"Sixty-three percent of Americans say the U.S. should be doing more in Syria, but when we ask what concrete actions should be taken, that support falters," said Kyle Dropp, Morning Consult’s Co-Founder and Chief Research Officer. "For example, 57 percent support airstrikes, and 39 percent support putting troops on the ground to remove Assad. The only action that garners widespread support is imposing tighter sanctions, which 70 percent of Americans support."
Overall, 30 percent of voters have “a lot” of confidence in Trump “to take the necessary towards ending the ongoing civil war in Syria.” Another 27 percent have “some” confidence, 14 percent characterize their confidence in Trump as “not much” and 20 percent have no confidence “at all.”
Trump signaled Tuesday that he won’t send U.S. ground troops into Syria.
Syria is breaking through the din of news, the poll shows. Forty-four percent of voters have heard “a lot” about the suspected use of chemical weapons there, and another 42 percent have heard about it somewhat. Only 10 percent say they haven’t heard much about it, and 4 percent haven’t heard anything at all.
Voters are split on Trump’s job performance in the survey: 48 percent approve, and 47 percent disapprove. In last week’s survey, 46 percent of voters approved of Trump, and 48 percent disapproved.
The poll was conducted April 6-9, surveying 1,988 registered voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.
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