Poll: 4 Out of 5 Americans Say Obama Needs Congressional Greenlight for Syria Strike

But Americans remain at odds with each other — and often themselves — on the virtue of an attack.

A Standard Missile (SM-3) is launched from the Aegis combat system equipped Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Decatur during a Missile Defense Agency ballistic missile flight test from the Pacific Ocean on June 22, 2007. The Navy, using this missile technology, will shoot down a malfunctioning U.S. spy satellite sometime after February 20, 2008. When the satellite enters the Earth's atmosphere, it could release hydrazine, a toxic chemical, and if exposed in a populated area could cause mass injuries. (UPI Photo/U.S. Navy)
Patrick Reis
Aug. 30, 2013, 10:47 a.m.

Half of all Amer­ic­ans want Pres­id­ent Obama to launch a mis­sile strike on Syr­ia, but nearly 80 per­cent want him to get con­gres­sion­al ap­prov­al first, ac­cord­ing to an NBC News poll.

The poll, con­duc­ted Wed­nes­day and Thursday, re­veals a nu­anced, or per­haps con­tra­dict­ory, at­ti­tude about the use of force. Only 42 per­cent of poll re­spond­ents said they sup­por­ted “mil­it­ary ac­tion” against Syr­ia, while 50 per­cent were op­posed. But sup­port for ac­tion jumped to 50 per­cent — and op­pos­i­tion dropped to 44 — when re­spond­ents were asked spe­cific­ally about “mil­it­ary ac­tion “¦ lim­ited to air strikes us­ing cruise mis­siles launched from U.S. nav­al ships.”

Fi­nally, 58 per­cent of re­spond­ents agreed that the use of chem­ic­al weapons by any coun­try is a “red line” that re­quires “a sig­ni­fic­ant U.S. re­sponse, in­clud­ing the pos­sib­il­ity of mil­it­ary ac­tion,” while only 35 per­cent dis­agreed.

Re­spond­ents were much more uni­fied when asked about wheth­er Obama should re­quire con­gres­sion­al ap­prov­al be­fore get­ting the mil­it­ary in­volved in Syr­ia, with 79 per­cent agree­ing and only 16 per­cent op­posed.

The poll’s au­thors put its mar­gin of er­ror at 3.7 per­cent­age points.

Schol­ars sup­port a broad range of po­s­i­tions on how much au­thor­ity the pres­id­ent has to at­tack an­oth­er coun­try without le­gis­lat­ive ap­prov­al. But re­gard­less of the leg­al text, the on-the-ground real­ity is that Con­gress has been largely un­suc­cess­ful in stop­ping pres­id­ents from launch­ing strikes without ap­prov­al, said James Lind­sey, dir­ect­or of stud­ies at the Coun­cil on For­eign Re­la­tions.

Obama did not se­cure con­gres­sion­al ap­prov­al for the coun­try’s most re­cent mil­it­ary in­ter­ven­tion in the Ar­ab world, a series of strikes in Libya aimed at top­pling the re­gime of Muam­mar el-Qad­dafi.

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 4411) }}

What We're Following See More »
GOP Budget Chiefs Won’t Invite Administration to Testify
1 days ago

The administration will release its 2017 budget blueprint tomorrow, but the House and Senate budget committees won’t be inviting anyone from the White House to come talk about it. “The chairmen of the House and Senate Budget committees released a joint statement saying it simply wasn’t worth their time” to hear from OMB Director Shaun Donovan. Accusing the members of pulling a “Donald Trump,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the move “raises some questions about how confident they are about the kinds of arguments that they could make.”

Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
21 hours ago

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
16 hours ago

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Trump Is Still Ahead, but Who’s in Second?
3 hours ago

We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

  • American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
  • A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.