Majority supports Syrian airstrikes

- April 17, 2018

A majority of voters support the airstrikes launched against the Syrian government last week, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted after the U.S., along with partners in Britain and France, struck elements of Bashar Assad’s regime.

But the poll also shows most voters have little expectation that the strikes will prevent Assad from launching further biological or chemical attacks, as the U.S. and its allies allege he did earlier this month. And a plurality of voters think the scandals surrounding President Donald Trump influenced his decision making in approving the strikes.

While 58 percent of voters support the strikes, only 23 percent oppose them, the poll shows. Another 19 percent of voters surveyed in the three days after the strikes — Saturday through Monday — have no opinion on the airstrikes.

Republican voters are most supportive of the military action: 77 percent of Republicans support the strikes, compared to 49 percent of Democrats. Half of independents back the strikes, versus 26 percent who are opposed.


Despite support for the airstrikes, only 8 percent of voters say they are “very confident” they will prevent Assad’s government from using chemical or biological weapons again. Another 22 percent say they are somewhat confident.

Most voters have little confidence Syria will be prevented from mounting further biological attacks. More than a third, 36 percent, say they are not too confident the airstrikes will work, while another 21 percent are not confident at all.

Asked whether the U.S. has a responsibility to protect Syrian citizens from chemical and biological attacks, 42 percent of voters say yes, and 30 percent say no. The remaining 28 percent have no opinion.

More Republicans (48 percent) say the U.S. has a responsibility to protect Syrians than Democrats (43 percent) and independents (37 percent).

While voters are somewhat split on the issue of protecting Syrian citizens, more than two-thirds, 68 percent, say it is the responsibility of the international community. Only 11 percent say it isn’t.

Poll respondents were asked about Trump’s role in ordering the U.S. military to participate in the strike. When told Trump “has been dealing with a number of controversies at home, including the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, an investigation of Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, and the upcoming release of a book written by former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired last year,” more than a quarter of voters, 26 percent, say the Trump scandals played a “major factor” in Trump’s decision-making. Another 18 percent say the scandals were a “minor factor.”

Only 34 percent of voters think the controversies around Trump weren’t a factor at all in his decision to launch airstrikes, while another 21 percent have no opinion.


“Democrats and Republicans have drastically different views on whether ongoing scandals played a role in President Trump’s decision to conduct airstrikes in Syria,” said Kyle Dropp, Morning Consult’s co-founder and chief research officer. “Notably, 65 percent of Democrats say the president’s recent controversies were a major or minor factor in his decision to conduct airstrikes, compared with only 28 percent of Republicans.”

The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll surveyed 1,995 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Morning Consult is a nonpartisan media and technology company that provides data-driven research and insights on politics, policy and business strategy.

More details on the poll and its methodology can be found in these two documents — Toplines: https://politi.co/2vmyaqR | Crosstabs: https://politi.co/2EV4roc

Regular weekly poll — Toplines: https://politi.co/2qFGegw | Crosstabs: https://politi.co/2qEuvQa


 

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