President Barack Obama faces a skeptical American public as he makes his case for military intervention in Syria, according to new poll numbers from Pew Research Center released on Tuesday.
The poll found nearly half of Americans — 48 percent — opposed to military airstrikes in Syria as a response to the Assad regime's purported use of chemical weapons. Twenty-nine percent said they support airstrikes. There is an identical level of support and opposition among Democrats, according to the poll, while 35 percent of Republicans said they favor airstrikes against Syria. Slightly more Republicans (40 percent) said they are opposed to airstrikes.
Pew also found broad skepticism toward the effectiveness of airstrikes. Seventy-four percent said such a response is likely to trigger a backlash against the U.S. and its allies in the region, while 61 percent said it is likely that airstrikes will lead to a long-term military commitment there. A majority of 51 percent said it is unlikely that airstrikes will effectively discourage the use of chemical weapons.
American opposition to military action in Syria is nothing new. A Pew survey in June found 70 percent of Americans opposed to providing arms to Syrian rebels, an action that has reportedly not taken effect despite the Obama administration's announced intention to do so. A CBS News/New York Times poll conducted in April showed that 62 percent of Americans believed the U.S. did not have a responsibility to take action in Syria.
Pew's latest findings suggest that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's alleged breach of Obama's so-called "red line" has done little to shift public opinion.