WaPo/ABC poll shows Americans opposed to intervention in Syria, unless …

posted at 8:01 am on December 20, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

If you oppose American military intervention in Syria, only the topline question of the new Washington Post/ABC News poll will cheer you up.  Almost three out of four respondents oppose any direct US intervention in the civil war, but those numbers flip when almost any significant change in the status quo is proposed:

While Americans broadly prefer to stay out of direct involvement in the conflict in Syria, support for U.S. military action soars in the event of a loss of control of its chemical weapons, the use of such weapons on the Syrian people or an attack on neighboring U.S. allies.

Most in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll also say they’d support the imposition of a no-fly zone over Syria, provided U.S. ground forces are not involved.

In general, 73 percent say the U.S. military should not get involved in the conflict. But almost exactly as many say they’d support U.S. military involvement if Syria were to lose control of its chemical weapons, as do 63 percent if the Assad regime used these banned weapons against its own people – an action that Barack Obama has warned would “cross a red line.”

Similarly, if Syrian forces were to attack nearby U.S. allies, 69 percent say they’d support U.S. military involvement. And regardless of any such specific provocation, 62 percent say they’d favor creation of a no-fly zone, provided no ground troops were used. (That may reflect the success of the no-fly zone over Libya, general preference for air vs. ground combat, or some combination of both.)

Even among those who initially oppose U.S. military intervention, more than half change their position given the specific circumstances proposed, including 69 percent who, despite initial hesitancy, support U.S. involvement if Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile became insecure.

The pollster, Langer Research Associates, provides this helpful chart to explain the dynamic:

I hate to be Captain Buzzkill, but we’re not that far away from any of those three conditions.  If Assad falls, the likelihood of loss of control of chemical weapons will be very high, unless the Army defects en masse to the opposition.  Syria has already shot a few shells into Turkey, supposedly by accident, but the US and Germany now have hundreds of troops on the border manning Patriot missile batteries, an obvious tripwire message NATO is sending Assad.  I doubt that Assad will have any scruples about using chemical weapons on his own people to remain in power; the question will be whether he gets the opportunity to do so.

I’m not the only one looking at this pessimistically, either.  The poll shows that Americans have become a lot more pessimistic about the Arab Spring in general over the last couple of years:

More generally, this poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, finds the American public wary of the unrest in Syria and the course of the Arab Spring more broadly. Majorities think these events will harm, not help, U.S. political and economic interests in the region, and more think they’ll harm rather than help U.S. efforts to fight terrorist groups.

Fewer than a quarter think the outcome of the Syrian and broader Middle East/North Africa unrest will ultimately help U.S. political and economic interests. And Americans by 44-26 percent think the events in Syria will harm the United States’ ability to fight terrorist groups in the region. The public by 52-28 percent says the same about the Arab Spring more generally.

Gee, I wonder where (benghazi) Americans might have gotten (Benghazi) the idea that Arab revolutions would make it more difficult to fight terrorism (BENGHAZI)? By the way, don’t blame a partisan split for the polling results, although there are some gaps between the three poles of American politics:

Initial reluctance to involve the U.S. military in Syria is broadly based, with, for example, roughly equal numbers of Democrats, Republicans and independents opposed. Opposition rises with age, from 66 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds to eight in 10 seniors.

Partisan differences emerge in some of the specific scenarios. Support for U.S. involvement is 13 points higher among Republicans than independents (with Democrats in the middle) if Syria loses control of its chemical weapons stockpile, 12 points higher among Republicans and independents than among Democrats if chemical weapons are used on the Syrian people, and 10 points higher among Republicans than Democrats and independents if U.S. allies are attacked.

There’s no such gap on a no-fly zone, supported by 67 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of independents and 60 percent of Democrats alike.

While those gaps look significant, the chart puts that into context.  There is only a veneer of anti-interventionism among all of these groups, and it won’t take much from the Syrian regime for Obama to get support if he decides to apply the same policy to Assad as he did to Moammar Qaddafi.


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What a different their guy makes in the White House, no?

The liberal media and leftist peaceniks are the epitome of crass hypocrisy.

hawkdriver on December 20, 2012 at 8:04 AM

Is Hillary still calling in sick / hiding out to avoid testifying on Benghazi?

viking01 on December 20, 2012 at 8:04 AM

Unless the rat-eared messiah and his MSM say that it’s a good idea.
Then there’ll be push polls the next day proclaiming the genius of intervention.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on December 20, 2012 at 8:05 AM

I’m sorry but I don’t think a statistically significant number of Americans know enough about Syria (and US involvement to date) to make any such poll relevant. Seriously.

I’m not saying Americans are dumb but far more can speak more intelligently about the antics of Honey Boo Boo than the antics of Assad.

Happy Nomad on December 20, 2012 at 8:05 AM

Is Hillary still calling in sick / hiding out to avoid testifying on Benghazi?

viking01 on December 20, 2012 at 8:04 AM

Yep.

Happy Nomad on December 20, 2012 at 8:06 AM

Polls polls polls …… everything’s about polls.

BD57 on December 20, 2012 at 8:07 AM

Unless oblamo tells us we need to go in there.

He’ll save syria for 2014 or 15 so he can use it to waive the 22nd ammendment and stay in office.

acyl72 on December 20, 2012 at 8:08 AM

I wonder what the Moderates think,er the Islamic Moderate Muslims I mean!
(sarc)

canopfor on December 20, 2012 at 8:09 AM

***** Alert *****

For you Alabama Hot Airs in harms way..LIVE STREAMING OF TORNADO COVERAGE

2 Sirens just went off!
=========

Watch FOX10 News in the Morning Live

http://www.fox10tv.com/generic/video/LiveStream_FOX10

canopfor on December 20, 2012 at 8:11 AM

“When no specifics are provided”
73% say NO.

So who is responsible for relaying the specifics if there are….
specifics?

Hmmmmmm.

Electrongod on December 20, 2012 at 8:13 AM

Nice touch Ed……. Benghazi?

Spot on

cmsinaz on December 20, 2012 at 8:13 AM

+1 Hawkdriver

cmsinaz on December 20, 2012 at 8:14 AM

MeanWhile,back at Team Ruskies!

The Associated Press ‏@AP

BREAKING: Putin says Russia recognizes need for change in Syria, calls for regime-opposition talks

Dec 20 2012-7:03AM

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_RUSSIA_SYRIA?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

canopfor on December 20, 2012 at 8:15 AM

Won’t attacking Syria create more terrorists? That’s what liberals said would happen if we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan.

Liam on December 20, 2012 at 8:17 AM

Chemical weapons? What chemical weapons? The Syrians are peaceful people who fly kites with their children. I demand long inspections that are fools’ errands, and give time for Assad to move or destroy any chemical weapons he might actually have, or 0bama is lying us into a war for oil, dammit! ///

Sekhmet on December 20, 2012 at 8:18 AM

sesquipedalian is the only troll that will try to justify this. And only because it’s an “in your face” and “we have the power to do what we want” lib who takes quite a bit of joy in rubbing our noses in it.

Expect it.

Come for despotisim. Stay for the hypocrisy.

hawkdriver on December 20, 2012 at 8:19 AM

I’m for a House Resolution calling for Hillary and Je$$e Jack$on Jr. to share a hospital room, no visitors, until able to return to the outside world.

It would be mere seconds before Hillary kicked him with a cloven hoof and Je$$e Jr. threatened to have daddy send a rent-a-riot after her.

viking01 on December 20, 2012 at 8:24 AM

Will Obama wait for UN approval after fifty UN resolutions, and allow time for ‘sanctions to take effect’? If he doesn’t, is he a war monger or a humanitarian? And how much will it cost in lives and dollars that could be better spent on entitlements?

Oh, never mind. They won!

Pffft!

Liam on December 20, 2012 at 8:25 AM

viking01 on December 20, 2012 at 8:24 AM

“Rent-a-riot”?

LMAO

Liam on December 20, 2012 at 8:26 AM

Nice touch Ed……. Benghazi?

Spot on

cmsinaz on December 20, 2012 at 8:13 AM

cmsinaz:

Speaking of Benghazi,looks like Nuland did have a Press Conference!:)
===================================================================

Oops!

Briefing on the Accountability Review Board Report

Special Briefing
William J. Burns
Deputy Secretary
Accountability Review Board Chairman Ambassador Tom Pickering and Vice Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen
Washington, DC
December 19, 2012
******************

TRANSCRIPT:

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/12/202282.htm

VIDEO:(31:25)

Briefing on the Accountability Review Board Report

Published on Dec 19, 2012

Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns delivers remarks on the Accountability Review Board Report with Accountability Review Board Chairman Ambassador Tom Pickering and Vice Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on December 19, 2012. A text transcript can be found at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/12/202282.htm.
====================================================

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_4A8ErnS6s&feature=youtu.be

HilRods Letter:

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/202447.pdf

canopfor on December 20, 2012 at 4:30 AM

canopfor on December 20, 2012 at 8:28 AM

What a different their guy makes in the White House, no?

The liberal media and leftist peaceniks are the epitome of crass hypocrisy.

hawkdriver on December 20, 2012 at 8:04 AM

hawkdriver:

So true Hawk,every time America elects a Liberal,er Commie
POTUSA,the whole world goes to h*ll in a hand-basket,filled
with Donkey Poo!:)

canopfor on December 20, 2012 at 8:36 AM

63% said do it, but I think it dumb to send in our troops once ol’ Assad starts to chuck around chemical weapons.
Maybe some air activity, but no troops on the ground.

Jabberwock on December 20, 2012 at 8:39 AM

Turning Syria, Iran, an Afghanistan into a large, self-illuminating parking lot would go a long way in keeping world peace and restoring our national credibility. That is the kind of Muslim outreach I could approve of.

Archivarix on December 20, 2012 at 8:42 AM

************ RED ALERT ******************

LIVE STREAMING

Video: Senate hearing on Benghazi attack report

http://www.breakingnews.com/

canopfor on December 20, 2012 at 8:49 AM

UGGH!! I don’t think I can stand another bite of popcorn, but pass it to me please!!

Deano1952 on December 20, 2012 at 8:50 AM

****************** RED ALERT PART DEUX **********************

LIVE STREAMING:

Senate Hearing on U.S. Consulate Attack in Benghazi

Washington, DC
Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee are holding the first of two Congressional hearing today on the September 11 attacks against the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

The State Department’s highest ranking foreign service officers, William Burns and Thomas Nides, is testifying before the Committees today. They are answering questions regarding a new report by an independent panel assessing the Benghazi attack.

Accountability Review Board Chairman Ambassador Tom Pickering and Vice Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen held a press briefing Wednesday at the State Department to review the results of their investigation into the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Four Americans were killed in that attack, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. Congress is investigating whether the State Department denied a request for extra security at that outpost earlier in the year and what actions were taken in the moments after the attack began.

Yesterday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) conducted a closed briefing on the attack. He heard from an accountability review board investigating the details of the conflict.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was initially scheduled to testify before both Committees but will not attend. She was diagnosed with a concussion last week after fainting at home.
=============================================================

http://www.c-span.org/Events/Senate-Hearing-on-US-Consulate-Attack-in-Benghazi/10737436726-1/

canopfor on December 20, 2012 at 8:55 AM

and it won’t take much from the Syrian regime for Obama to get support if he decides to apply the same policy to Assad as he did to Moammar Qaddafi.

Support? He doesn’t need any support, he’s a Democrat. He can do anything he wants and the media will make sure that even if 100,000 people turned out to protest, it will be ignored. Remember ObamaCare?

The media that claims to protect us from dictators has created our first one, but it’s okay because they love him.

drunyan8315 on December 20, 2012 at 9:29 AM

While Americans broadly prefer to stay out of direct involvement in the conflict in Syria, support for U.S. military action soars in the event of a loss of control of its chemical weapons, the use of such weapons on the Syrian people or an attack on neighboring U.S. allies.

Neoconservatives giddy.

Dante on December 20, 2012 at 9:39 AM

I’m sorry but I don’t think a statistically significant number of Americans know enough about Syria (and US involvement to date) to make any such poll relevant. Seriously.

I’m not saying Americans are dumb but far more can speak more intelligently about the antics of Honey Boo Boo than the antics of Assad.

Happy Nomad on December 20, 2012 at 8:05 AM

I think I’m going to agree. I pay a good amount of attention to what is going on here at home…and way too many people can’t even be bothered to do that. But when it comes to foreign policy issues, I can’t say I have a good understanding of them. I don’t think I could answer this poll and feel confident that military intervention in Syria under any circumstance would be the best thing to do.

Do we get drawn into a conflict with Russia if we intervene in Syria in any way? I thought that was their “red line in the sand”?

lynncgb on December 20, 2012 at 10:13 AM

I’m sorry but I don’t think a statistically significant number of Americans know enough about Syria (and US involvement to date) to make any such poll relevant. Seriously.

I’m not saying Americans are dumb but far more can speak more intelligently about the antics of Honey Boo Boo than the antics of Assad.

Happy Nomad on December 20, 2012 at 8:05 AM

Most of those polled couldn’t find Syria on a map if their life depended on it, and have no ideal who Assad is.

Alabama Infidel on December 20, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Americans are against action until a whole bunch of people get killed? That’s how it has always been. That is where Bush screwed up, in order for Americans to truly support military action in Iraq, he needed to wait for WMDs to be used on Americans (WMDs he never found). Of course Americans supported invading Iraq initially, but good luck finding anyone who admits to that these days because that’s America for you.

Daemonocracy on December 20, 2012 at 2:22 PM

Do we get drawn into a conflict with Russia if we intervene in Syria in any way? I thought that was their “red line in the sand”?

lynncgb on December 20, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Russia seems to be softening their support on Syria, most likely because Assad is increasingly looking to be on his way out. Obama certainly did everything he could to sell out our true allies in Eastern Europe to get on Russia’s good side, and they still stuck their thumb in our eyes…right up until Assad started to show chinks in his armor.

Daemonocracy on December 20, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Of course Americans supported invading Iraq initially, but good luck finding anyone who admits to that these days because that’s America for you. – Daemonocracy

Democrats, Hollywood stars, and media talking heads do not equate to “Americans” – it just looks that way because they control the information we see, don’t see, and what we are helped to forget we ever saw.

drunyan8315 on December 20, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Americans are against action until a whole bunch of people get killed? That’s how it has always been. That is where Bush screwed up, in order for Americans to truly support military action in Iraq, he needed to wait for WMDs to be used on Americans (WMDs he never found). Of course Americans supported invading Iraq initially, but good luck finding anyone who admits to that these days because that’s America for you.

Daemonocracy on December 20, 2012 at 2:22 PM

Actually, it isn’t how it’s always been.

Dante on December 20, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Isolationists subdued.

blink on December 20, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Unfortunately not literally with duct tape and handcuffs.

MelonCollie on December 20, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Russia seems to be softening their support on Syria,

Daemonocracy on December 20, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Thank you. That’s the impression I had but wasn’t sure if Russia’s allegiance to Assad might still be very strong …along with their suspicions of the motives of the U.S. They just always seem to be a pesky bunch. :-)

lynncgb on December 20, 2012 at 4:41 PM