Reason-Rupe Poll: 74% of Americans Say It Would Be "Unwise" for U.S. to Strike Syria

In 2002 then-State Senator Barack Obama proclaimed he wasn’t against all wars, just “dumb” and “rash” ones.

Nearly three-quarters of Americans, 74 percent, say it is “unwise” to launch unilateral military action against Syria, the latest Reason-Rupe poll finds.

Just 17 percent of Americans say US strikes on Syria without the support of the United Nations and Great Britain would be wise.

Strong majorities of Democrats (66 percent), Republicans (81 percent), and Independents (79 percent), agree that it would be unwise for the US to unilaterally intervene in Syria.

Among the 17 percent who believe unilateral military action in Syria is wise, 61 percent are Democrats, 57 percent are male, and 40 percent are non-white (10 points higher than share of the population). 

A quarter of Democrats say it would be wise to take unilateral military action action against Syria, compared to about 11 percent of Republicans and Independents.

FULL POLL RESULTS HERE

Nationwide telephone poll conducted September 4-8 2013 interviewed 1013 adults on both mobile (509) and landline (504) phones, with a margin of error +/- 3.7%. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results found here. Full methodology can be found here.

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  • Tim||

    What's with the RACIST flesh toned pie chart, the darker it gets the more it agrees with Obama.

  • JWatts||

    You didn't look very carefully. The darker portion is labeled "Wise", whereas the lighter (cracker) portion is labeled "Unwise". It's never racist to criticize or stereotype white people, duh.

  • Almanian!||

    I just *assumed* "wise" referred to the Latinas. Thanks for clearing that up!

  • canuhuv||

    This is actually the best job Ive had. I work at Home with Google. I've made $64,000 so far this year working online and I'm a full time student. Moreover, My Uncle Carson got a stunning gold Porsche Cayenne Hybrid only from working part time off a pc. Official website www.Pow6.com

  • Steve G||

    Damn, could Emily drop any moar wisdom on us today?

  • Almanian!||

    I bet she has more to spare.

  • John||

    I really hate the term "war monger". To me it is used as an all purpose insult and generally is an indication that person using it has run out of arguments. But like all terms, it does have a meaning and its use is appropriate sometimes.

    I look at this proposed war in Syria and see two types of supporters. The first are just Dem partisans. People like Rachel Maddow are just idiot hacks who will support anything Obama does. This just just happens to be the issue de jour they are supposed to be out fighting the good fight on. Tomorrow it will be something different and whatever they do it will be in support of the team.

  • John||

    But the Republicans like McCain and Bill Kristol in particular are not partisans. It is a politically bad idea for the Republicans to support this. And I have yet to hear a rational argument for this war. We have argued endlessly on hear about Iraq. And there is no need to rehash those arguments. Whatever they were and whatever your opinion of them, there was at least an argument. There isn't any rational case for this. The President admits up front that it won't end the civil war or even try to make things better. It claims to affirm a proposition of international law that is both untrue and not something the US would ever want to be true. I am sorry, but there is no way the US wants it to be international law that any country can go to war with another without UNSC approval over the other country's internal use of WMDs. That is not the law and we wouldn't want it to be. And this war does nothing to make the world or the Middle East less threatening or better for American interests.

    In short, if you are a Republican and will support this war, you will support any war the President of either party wants to fight. And that, sadly, makes you a war monger. A literal war monger, not a figurative one in the mind of some peacenik moron who has run out of arguments. A month ago I would have never agreed that McCain or Kristol were "war mongers". I would have laughed at it. But good God, they have proven me wrong.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Very good analysis. Yeah, there really are genuine war mongers out there who value war as an end in itself.

  • Pro Libertate||

    They keep saying stuff like "set phasers to caress," which makes no sense as a response, anyway. Better to do nothing than to do something that has the effect of pissing off people and having no other effect at all.

  • John||

    Their case doesn't even make internal sense. It is not a question of whether you believe their assumptions. The problem is even if you believe their assumptions, what they want to do still doesn't make sense.

  • JWatts||

    "set phasers to caress,"

    Well, to be fair, some Republicans were fond of the clause, "set phasers to rape mode" during the last Primary. However, that polled poorly.

  • Loki||

    They keep saying stuff like "set phasers to caress,"

    Huh? That doesn't even make any sense. For a couple of reasons. 1) it's just stupid and non-sensical. 2) Personally speaking, some stranger coming up and trying to "caress" me would be a good way to get punched in the face, so if that's the analogy that some of the war supporters are using, they're pretty much admitting they're just going to piss people off. That's just goofy and retarded.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I should explain. Many years ago, Mad Magazine did one of its many Star Trek parodies that involved a musical version of the show. They beamed down to some planet with attractive women, so Kirk corrected his "set phasers on stun" command with "set phasers to caress." I was using that in place of the "pinprick" comment that has been made about the scope of our possible attack.

  • Loki||

    Ah, I see. I didn't get the Mad Magazine reference.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's from way back. Maybe the 70s, though I think I read it around 1980 or so.

  • Zeb||

    That's what really gets me about the Syria thing. There is no purpose to the proposed attacks except to punish Assad for being naughty. It is totally absurd. You don't just start bombing people unless you have a specific objective that you can achieve. And here there is no objective, no outcome that is being sought.

    If we are going to make big symbolic gestures, nuking the moon would be a lot more fun and probably more effective.

  • Pro Libertate||

    The Moon is an important symbol in Islam.
    Syria is an Islamic state.
    Therefore, we should nuke the Moon.

  • Brandon||

    4 straight poll posts? Booooorrrinnng. I don't give a shit what the people who gave us two terms each of Bush and Obama think. They have very little credibility.

  • John||

    That is right. They will end up voting on Abortion or "isn't it (insert this minority here) turn" or "isn't he dreamy" or whatever stupid reason. So their opinions on real issues don't matter much.

  • Paul.||

    Biden 2016!

  • John||

    Hillary 2016!! Isn't it finally a woman's turn?

  • Pro Libertate||

    If women were politically smart, they'd avoid the White House for a while. It's not going to be good for reputations.

  • John||

    No. Mark my words, we will never see another black President in our lifetime. They will never admit it. But even Obama supporters want no part of "anytime you criticize the President you are just racist" shit again.

  • Scarcity||

    I don't know how heavily to value the opinion of just this one commentor. Could we get a poll of the commentariat's opinion on who cares about all these polls?

  • Pro Libertate||

    America to Obama: "You are unwise to lower your defenses."

  • ||

    The slow totalitarianism penetrates the Constitution?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Dictators within dictators within dictators.

  • BakedPenguin||

    The missiles must flow!

  • Pro Libertate||

    You must submit to the Gon Tufar.

  • Brett L||

    I think we should strike him down. Just in case. Not everyone who says they are a badass is.

  • Brett L||

    Metaphorically, of course. Hi, NSA guys, please don't send the SS.

  • JWatts||

    The Secret Service is over worked and we prefer a more local, community based approach anyway. So, just stay on the line, your local area SWAT team will be with you shortly.

  • Brett L||

    Secret Service?

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's Schutzstaffel in English, I believe.

  • mr simple||

    If you strike him down he will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine. Well, that's what he told me.

  • Paul.||

    Support our president!

  • Almanian!||

    Syria is the new Zimmerman/Martin.

    "OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE THEY SUPPORT/DON'T SUPPORT WAR/PEACE/US HEGEMONY/US IMPOTENCE/FREEDUMZ/DERP"

    And now I hate the coverage just a as much, and am starting to tune out just as much.

    Almost like "they" want that to happen...WEIRD!

  • JWatts||

    "In 2002 then-State Senator Barack Obama proclaimed he wasn’t against all wars, just “dumb” and “rash” ones."

    By default, all wars that President Barack Obama supports are wise and carefully considered ones. /Prog

    And as silly as that sounds, that's exactly the MSNBC take on this.

  • John||

    It is a cult of personality. In the same way the Republicans who support this will support any war, the Democrats who support this will support anything Obama does.

  • Stilgar||

    The most bizarro crosstab is the Rand Paul question and support for the R party... up in every age group except a net -11 in the 35-44 group. wtf is up with that

  • Stilgar||

    further - a net -14 for liberals and -13 for progressives? Are they the new war party? Or do they just reflexively hate Rand?

  • John||

    Yes. The more he doesn't conform to their prejudices, the more they are going to hate him. Republicans are supposed to be war mongers. That is a huge part of liberal self identity and a major source of liberal and prog smugness. Rand, by not playing to form, damages that. And they hate him for it.

    There is no reaching out to liberals and progs.

  • Paul.||

    There is no reaching out to liberals and progs.

    The older and wiser I get, the more I realize this.

    Let's just give them a little gun control... just a little...

  • Derpetologist||

    I will cross-post this here since this is the most popular of the poll threads:

    The current front-runner among reasons to attack Syria is that failure to do so would embolden the terrorists.

    Pardon me, but haven't those guys been doing their level best for decades to attack the US wherever they can? And how do we respond? By sending troops to their turf where it's easier for them to be attacked.

    Meanwhile, the most obvious terrorists continue to waltz into the US and carry out their attacks unmolested.

    What exactly is the point of these overseas adventures if it does nothing to stop terrorists from entering the US?

  • John||

    How does allowing a nation state to gas its own people embolden transnational terrorists?

    I haven't heard that argument. But it is a profoundly stupid one. I would love to hear how and why terrorists would care much less be deterred by us bombing Assad. Aren't we already trying to kill them any way? That is kind of the whole point of the war on terror isn't it?

  • Derpetologist||

    Ol' Bill O was saying the other day that not attacking Syria would somehow portray weakness and encourage terries to use chemical weapons or some such nonsense.

    I'm not sure the WoT has a point. Is it to stop all terrorism? To stop terries from attacking the US?

    Given that it is far less costly for the terries to fight than it is for us, doesn't that call for a long-term strategy?

    Is it even possible to defeat Islamic terrorism once and for all?

  • John||

    They are already trying to kill us and are willing to die doing so. How exactly more "emboldened" are they supposed to get?

    Bill O' is so stupid he can't even get his talking points straight. The reason to bomb Assad is to deter other nations from using WMDs on their people. Bombing a national government is not going to embolden or deter terrorists.

  • Cytotoxic||

    It may be that fighting terrorism is just a long-term fact of life for a long time. Like how I have to shower everyday to stay well America has to drone-bomb a day to keep terries away. BTW shout out to the drone operator who killed that evil Haqqani bastard HELL YEAH.

  • John||

    It is not may be. It is a long term fact. Al Quada is not an organization anymore. We killed and or imprisoned all of its leaders. Al Quada is a brand, a banner, any loser anywhere can pick up and fight under. There is no "victory" against it until the day everyone decides there is no reason to fight for it. It will remain a low level threat in the US producing the occasional Boston Marathon like bombing or some nut blowing a gasket and shooting a bunch of people like Fort Hood and be a serious scourge in the Muslim world as various militia groups take up the cause and murder and oppress the fuck out of everyone around them.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What's sad is that we could've applied, you know, diplomatic pressure, maybe even lining up with Russia on this point. Rather than just meekly following the Russian lead, which is how this is playing out.

    We haven't been this bad on foreign policy in a long time. The Bush administration shook up the international community by taking a more aggressive stance, but despite all the clamor, many countries understood why we were reacting the way we did after 9/11. In other words, they understood our motives to some extent. Now? We're fucking random.

  • John||

    And of course most of the world, the middle east included were happy to see Bush get rid of Saddam even thought they could never admit it in public. He was a boil on the ass of the international community. No one wanted him back in the international community but the sanctions were increasingly cruel and immoral to the Iraqi people and totally unsustainable. Other than the Russians and French, whom we latter found out were getting rich off of corrupt oil for food contracts, every one was quietly happy to see Bush do their dirty work.

    But no one supports this quietly or otherwise because it is unclear what Obama even wants to do or will do once he starts bombing.

  • Loki||

    I would love to hear how and why terrorists would care much less be deterred by us bombing Assad.

    Shit, if anything us bombing Assad would help them in a couple of ways.

    1) it weakens Assad's forces possibly giving the terrorist affiliated rebel groups an advantage. Unless you believe Kerry's "unbelievably small" crap yesterday, in which case if won't do shit.

    2) unless we can be guarenteed to destroy Assad's entire stockpile, in the chaos after his regime falls it will be much easier for terrorist groups to get their hands on the leftover WMDs.

    These people are almost too stupid to believe they're for real. I know peak retard is a myth, but holy shit, I wish it weren't. I don't think the country can survive much more derp.

  • John||

    It is in the US's interest for this civil war to drag on in a stalemate. That sounds cold and evil to say. But it is true. This civil war gives all the various jihadists who want to take up the banner of Al Quada a place to go and fight and die that doesn't involve killing Americans. Meanwhile, it ties down Iran and Hezbollah propping up Assad. There isn't a single downside to this conflict continuing on forever from the US's perspective.

    But these people now want to intervene to try and shorten the conflict and let people who hate us and want to attack and kill us take over one of the larger countries in the region and a country that we know has huge stockpiles of WMDs.

    Forget retarded. They are insane.

  • Zeb||

    the most obvious terrorists continue to waltz into the US and carry out their attacks unmolested

    Which ones?

  • Paul.||

    I was wondering the same thing.

  • Derpetologist||

    9/11 hijackers, Boston bombers, underwear bomber, etc.

    The underwear bomber's own dad went to the US embassy to warn them.

    The FBI and CIA both knew the 9/11 boys were up to no good.

    The Russians warned about the Boston bombers as well.

  • KDN||

    Mexicans, obvi. They're always terrorizing the shit out of some low wage jerbz and formerly white working class neighborhoods with decent public transportation.

  • Almanian!||

    And don't forget the goddamned Mexican restaurants run by families making super-delicious, cheap Mexican food!

    GodDAMNIT we need more of those!

    I mean we DON'T need more...no, I don't mean that. MOAR MEXICAN FOODZ, PLEEZE!

  • Brett L||

    Oh man, a couple of ladies who barely speak english opened a taco stand down the street from me. Real Mexican tacos and tamales.

  • Cytotoxic||

    McConnell will vote against authorization of Syrian strikes.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-25.....ry-strike/

  • Almanian!||

    "Tippppyyyyy....TIPPPPYYY the turtle!"

    Sing along, everyone!

    "Tipppppyyyy.....TIPPPPYYY the turtle!"

  • Brett L||

    Rand Paul must fucking own the GOP establishment in Kentucky now. McConnell is pretty much his bitch (in exchange for Rand not supporting a primary challenger against him) until the primaries are over.

  • Derpetologist||

    If the root of the problem is Islamic fanaticism, then that should be the target.

    Call this insane if you like, but I wonder if it would have been better to invade and occupy Mecca after 9/11. Announce that the Hajj will be canceled and the city will remained closed until all major Islamic leaders sign a document denouncing terrorism and recognizing Israel. Further warn them that any future terrorist attack will result in the prompt destruction of Mecca.

    "Moderation in war is imbecility."

  • Almanian!||

    Whooooa! The tough gai is STRONG in this one! I like the way you think, and would edit your fucking newsletter for no pay!

    *bows down to the greatness that is Derpologist's idea*

    That is fucking BADASS! Respect...

  • Derpetologist||

    Like I said, I know it's crazy.

    However, it would be easier to occupy a city than to occupy a country. It would also be more humane by reducing potential casualties.

    Trying to defeat jihad by attrition won't work because they can replace their losses easily.

    We know the terries care about nothing except their religion. If so, that should be the target.

    If destroying or threatening to destroy a city will get them to give up, that's what should be done.

  • John||

    A lot of our problems stem from the fact that the Saudi Wahabbists own Mecca and thus own the Koran. In most Islamic countries it is illegal to translate the Koran into another language. The Koran is written in a very archaic form of Arabic. Even to an Arabic speaker, reading it is like you and I trying to read Beowulf. In some countries like the US and Europe, Muslims read the Koran in their native language and make their own decisions about what it means. It is no coincidence that the Muslim populations in these countries are generally not radicals.

    In countries where it is not translated, the people's knowledge of Islam is totally dependent on what their local Imam tells them. The Saudis have for years been sending out Wahabbist Imams and turning what were once peaceful Muslim populations into radicals. For example, the people of Afghanistan waged what was in the Muslim world universally considered to be a legitimate jihad against the Soviets. The Soviets hit every single requirement to justify a jihad. Yet, in ten years of war, there was not a single suicide bombing committed by the Afghans. Suicide is a mortal sin in Islam. Then the Saudis and Bin Ladin showed up and took over the Mosques and since then suicide bombing has been the number one tactic used against the Americans, a war that almost no one in the Muslim word considers a legitimate jihad and meets few of the criteria for one in the Koran.

  • Derpetologist||

    Eh, I sort of agree. However, the translations of the Koran (at least the English ones) make it quite clear that Muslims are superior to members of other religions and that they are justified in fighting them. Islam has a doctrine of abrogation whereby in the event of contradiction, the later verse overrules the earlier verse. The early verses from the Meccan period tend to be tolerant vs. the aggressive verses from the Medina period. The verses moderates like to quote like "there is no compulsion in religion" and "one who saves one life it is though he saved all mankind" are from the tolerant period. "Fight the unbelievers wherever you find them" is from the later period.

  • John||

    However, the translations of the Koran (at least the English ones) make it quite clear that Muslims are superior to members of other religions and that they are justified in fighting them

    But they are only justified in fighting them under a very strict set of circumstances. And that is basically invading a muslim country and demanding that they give up their religion. Without the demand that they give up Islam, jihad is not justified.

    And the Koran also has lots of rules about not waging war against women and children and not committing suicide. But if your Imam never tells you about that part and you can't read it in your own language, you won't know that. This is why the Saudis spend so much time and effort training Imams. They want Islam to be their political Islam not what it actually is. This is also why they are so insistent on the Koran not ever being translated. They don't want people reading the thing and questioning what they say. Translating the Koran is life in prison or death in many Islamic countries.

  • Derpetologist||

    Sorry John, but the idea that jihad is for defense is not true and the historical bears this out. The first few centuries of Islam were dominated by jihad against all their neighbors- the Byzantines, Persia, North Africa, India, etc.

    The Koran and the hadith provide many rules for war including the capture of slaves. This is the reason why Muslim countries were among the last to abolish slavery.

    If Islam is peaceful by nature, why is it that the people who are the most fundamentalist and have the best knowledge of the scripture tend to be the most violent?

  • John||

    The first few centuries of Islam were dominated by jihad against all their neighbors- the Byzantines, Persia, North Africa, India, etc.

    That wasn't jihad. It couldn't have been because Islam as we know it now didn't exist. Islam as we know it now was written after they had the empire and sought to justify it. You have to remember the Koran was written well after the death of Muhammad. And by that, I don't mean a few years the way the New Testament was after the death of Jesus. I am talking well after the living memory of Muhammad had passed from the seen. The original accounts of the Arab armies written by the Christians called them a form of Jews. The early history of Islam is lost to time.

    So you can't call what happened there the result of Islam. It was Arab nationalism. And Islam is not a culturally aggressive religion in much of the world. It is only so in places where the Saudis own the Imams.

  • Derpetologist||

    I accept the premise that the conquests came first and the scripture came second.

    Doesn't that prove my point though? They went to war and then a tradition was created to justify it.

    Islam has been aggressive everywhere: the Ottomans in the Balkans, the Moguls in India, you name it.

    I was surprised to learn that the name Mohamed just means "praised one" and may have just referred to an especially successful and/or mythical warlord.

  • mtrueman||

    Still think all this hand wringing about Obama going to war against Syria is misplaced. Had Obama wanted war with Syria, he had the perfect pretext last year when NATO ally Turkey was shelled from across the Syrian border. Nothing was done then, and nothing aside from dithering and symbolic face-saving will be done today.

    The problem of credibility remains, however. When a bully no longer is willing to bully, that requires some re-strategizing, and I'm not sure Obama or the American people are ready to go that far.

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