The new Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey shows that only a scant third of Americans think Congress should give President Obama the go ahead on attacking Syria. Half of Americans supported strikes in August. Support for strikes is fading fast as Americans learn more about the situation. Conservatives especially are turning sour on intervention as they see little benefit from being the world’s police force.
The shift was dramatic among conservatives, underscoring a widening isolationist streak within the GOP. Since 2005, support for promoting democracy overseas has fallen among Republicans to 19% from 60%. More than three-quarters of Republicans now say the U.S. should focus on challenges at home, up from just 32% who said that in 2005.
The poll found almost six in 10 Americans expressing disapproval of how Mr. Obama has dealt with the Syria situation and just a third saying he had made a convincing case for action.
“The American red line is, ‘Stay out,’ and it will be a heavy lift to move public opinion with just one speech,” said Mr. Hart, the Democratic pollster, speaking of Mr. Obama’s Tuesday night televised address to the nation.
Should Congress turn down the president’s request to authorize force, 59% of those polled said they would oppose Mr. Obama moving ahead on his own to deploy strikes against Syria.