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Americans wary of Syria intervention



Published: Tue, August 27, 2013 @ 1:42 p.m.

Americans wary of Syria intervention

As the U.S. weighs a response to Syria, recent polling has shown Americans largely opposed to military action and few paying close attention to the ongoing conflict. But that could change with the Syrian government’s use of what the Obama administration says were chemical weapons.

No polling has been conducted on the public’s views of Syria since that government was accused of using chemical weapons. But the trend lines against military action have been clear:

- Seventy percent told Pew Research Center pollsters in June that they opposed sending arms and military supplies to anti-government groups in Syria. That poll was conducted around the time the Obama administration announced it would be providing military aid to the anti-government forces.

- An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released earlier in June showed that two-thirds of Americans preferred that the U.S. provide only humanitarian assistance or take no action, compared with just a quarter who favored either providing arms or taking military action.

- A Gallup survey in May found 68 percent thought the U.S. should not intervene militarily to end the conflict should economic and diplomatic efforts to end it fail.

Even with that consensus, a Washington Post/ABC News poll in December suggested that the government’s use of chemical weapons against its own people could change public opinion. In that poll, just 17 percent thought the U.S. military should get involved in the conflict as it was at the time, but 63 percent said they would support military intervention if the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its people.


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