- (Photo: Reuters/Jason Reed)
More Democrats than Republicans support U.S. air strikes on Syria against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, though most Americans as a whole are not in favor of military intervention and do not believe President Barack Obama is handling the conflict well, a poll has found.
According to the CBS News/New York Times poll, 61 percent of Americans oppose military strikes against Syria. While 41 percent of Democrats are in favor, only 28 percent of Republicans said the same. The majority of respondents, or 56 percent, also said that they disapprove of how Obama is handling the conflict, and only 14 percent believe the president has really explained America's goals in the region.
The poll surveyed 1,011 people across America from Sept. 6-8, and has a sampling error margin of plus or minus three percentage points.
"Opposition may stem in part from the real concerns Americans have about possible repercussions from U.S. military action in Syria," CBS News offered. "About two in three (66 percent) are very concerned that such action will become a long and costly involvement for the U.S.; that it will lead to a more widespread war in neighboring countries and other parts of the Middle East, and that it will kill or harm innocent civilians."
The poll comes at a critical time for the Obama administration, as it is still trying to win over Congressional support on the issue. Syria's decision on Monday agreeing to surrender control of its chemical weapons has been seen as an "important step" by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and might delay U.S. measures on Syria.
"This cannot be another excuse for delay or obstruction, and Russia has to support the international community's efforts sincerely or be held to account," Clinton warned, however.
"The Assad regime's inhuman use of weapons of mass destruction against innocent men, women and children violates a universal norm at the heart of our global order, and therefore it demands a strong response from the international community led by the United States."
The Assad regime has continuously denied that it is responsible for the chemical weapon attack in August that killed a reported 1,429 people, though the White House has said it has evidence that proves beyond a doubt that the government is guilty. Three in four Americans in the CBS poll agreed that it was the Syrian regime that most likely used weapons against civilians, but 65 percent of respondents said that they do not believe the U.S. has a responsibility to act in Syria.
A CNN/ORC International poll released on Monday found similar results, with seven in 10 Americans voting that a military strike against Syria would not achieve significant goals for the U.S., though eight in 10 concurred that Assad's regime most likely gassed its own people.
"Even as he works members of Congress one by one in small group settings, President Obama's biggest challenge is the American public at large," reflected John King, CNN chief national correspondent.
"More than seven in 10 Americans simply don't see a military response making any difference. They don't see it doing any good. They're very skeptical, post Iraq and even post Libya and post Egypt, that the United States can do something in a limited way in the Middle East and walk away with a success. And so the skepticism is driving it right now."