Thursday, February 19, 2015

Public Supports ISIS Authorization and Some Ground Forces

Two new polls show Americans support President Obama’s proposed authorization sent to Congress to use force against the Islamic State (ISIS). The level of support depends on the question wording. When a NBC News/Marist poll asked a lengthy question describing the authorization in detail, only about 54 percent of the public supports it. Whereas a CNN/ORC poll asked more generically if Congress should give Obama authority to fight ISIS and 78 percent said Congress should.

There also appears to be support for the deployment of some ground forces. In the NBC News/Marist poll, two-thirds of Americans appear to support use of a “limited” amount of ground forces against ISIS. No specific numbers of troops were provided, but the question offered alternatives of “limited number of U.S. ground forces (40%), a “large number” (26%) and “no ground forces” (26%). The original NBC News/Marist question on authorization of use of force cited above said the President asked for “flexibility for limited ground operations by U.S. military, but rules out deploying a large standing ground force.”

In the CNN/ORC poll, support for deploying ground forces increased from 43 percent in November to 47 percent today. Half of Americans still oppose it.

Also, the NBC News/Marist poll shows:
  • A majority (66%) believe U.S. and allies can defeat ISIS
  • But divide on whether or not Obama has strategy to do the job (45% great deal” or “good amount” of confidence vs. 48% “little” or “no” confidence)
The CNN/ORC poll shows:
  • A majority (57%) disapprove of Obama’s handling threat of ISIS, an increase from 49% in September 2014
  • 57% disapprove of his overall foreign affairs competency; 54% disapprove Obama’s handling of terrorism
  • 58% don’t believe war against ISIS going well, including 46% of Democrats

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