Most Americans oppose Syria strike: Poll

AFP , Monday 9 Sep 2013

CNN sample poll shows almost 60 percent of Americans oppose US military action in Syria

Protesters against U.S. military action in Syria march to Capitol Hill from the White House in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. (AP Photo)

The American public strongly opposes US military intervention in Syria, despite a majority believing that President Bashar al-Assad's regime gassed its own people, a poll showed Monday.

Almost six out of 10 of the 1,022 adults questioned -- 59 percent -- said Congress should not pass a resolution authorizing even limited military action against Syria, a CNN/ORC International poll found.

More than seven out of 10 said any such strike would not achieve significant US goals or serve US national interests.

And even if Congress authorizes military action against Syria, a 55-percent majority would still oppose air strikes against Syrian military targets. Without congressional support, the opponents increased to 71 percent of respondents.

However, most of those questioned -- 57 percent -- said their representative's vote in Congress would not make a difference in how they voted in upcoming 2014 mid-term elections. The mid-term polls are usually dominated by domestic issues.

The poll comes at the start of a crucial week for US President Barack Obama, who is set to make a round of interviews with six major television news outlets later Monday as he seeks to convince the American public and reluctant lawmakers.

On Tuesday, the president will travel to Capitol Hill to press lawmakers in person just hours before he addresses Americans from the White House, ahead of a possible Senate vote on authorizing force in Syria later this week.

The CNN poll had a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

A separate poll of lawmakers by USA Today found that Obama faces a daunting task on Capitol Hill.

Only a small fraction of the 533 US lawmakers -- just 22 senators and 22 representatives -- said they will support the use of military force against the Assad regime.

Overall, 19 senators and 130 members of the House of Representatives said they will oppose a resolution authorizing military action.

However, a broad majority of lawmakers in both houses of Congress said they remained undecided.

Even among Obama's fellow Democrats, lawmakers said they were as likely to vote for as against the measure supporting military action -- with 28 voicing support and 28 saying they are against such a resolution.

A Washington Post count of support on the Hill found 25 senators were in favour, 17 opposed, 10 leaning towards a "no" and 50 undecided, while in the House 25 representatives were in favor, 111 against, 116 leaning towards "no" and 181 undecided.

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