Alternate headline: New low of 23% of Americans pay no attention to the news. A new CBS poll puts Barack Obama’s handling of ISIS at its nadir, with two-thirds of respondents rejecting Obama’s claims that his strategy is working against ISIS. Gee, maybe this has something to do with Obama claiming to have “contained” ISIS just hours before the Paris attacks…
Just over a week after the terrorist attacks in Paris, only 23 percent of Americans think President Barack Obama has a clear plan for dealing with the militant group ISIS, the lowest number yet recorded in the CBS News Poll. Sixty-six percent do not think he has a clear plan – a new high.
Large majorities of Republicans and independents say the President doesn’t have a clear plan, and almost half of Democrats (40 percent) agree. More Democrats (45 percent) say he doesn’t have a plan than say he does.
In considering military options, 50 percent of Americans now favor sending in U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria, up four points from August. Support for sending ground troops rose to 57 percent in February in the immediate aftermath of the death of aid worker Kayla Mueller, but then dropped below 50 percent until now.
Hey, even Dianne Feinstein says the same thing about Obama’s strategy, and in public too, although she sounds less sanguine about a large-scale American ground-force strategy. This perception of Obama is sustained broadly across the political spectrum, too. Among independents, Obama gets 19/68, about as bad as any President could possibly poll on a major policy issue.
On ground troops, the response is more nuanced, although trending toward intervention. There is a consensus that air strikes aren’t going to suffice that also sustains across the political spectrum. Majorities in all three political affiliations agree that it will take ground troops to defeat ISIS — 63% overall, 73% GOP, 59% Dems, and 60% independents. Whether those should be American ground troops is a somewhat different matter. Overall the respondents in this poll favor US ground troops going into Syria to fight ISIS 50/42, but among Democrats it’s 43/48, and 45/46 among independents (GOP is 66/29). The difference likely comes from those who wonder why the Sunni nations surrounding ISIS don’t put their own armies in the field, but they won’t do that without American leadership and American contributions. They’re certainly not rushing to do so under Obama.
The issue of Obama’s credibility suffers even more when it comes to the refugee question. While Obama sneers at critics of his plan to process Syrian refugees normally as being fearful of widows and orphans, only 15% think revamping security in this process is not necessary. Among Democrats, support for stricter security is 77/19.
Paris seems to have woken up many Americans. So far, though, Obama’s not among them.