Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Americans Following Syria News

President Obama faces an uphill battle in making the case for U.S. military action in Syria. By a 48% to 29% margin, more Americans oppose than support conducting military airstrikes against Syria in response to reports that the Syrian government used chemical weapons.

The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Aug. 29-Sept. 1 among 1,000 adults, finds that Obama has significant ground to make up in his own party. Just 29% of Democrats favor conducting airstrikes against Syria while 48% are opposed. Opinion among independents is similar (29% favor, 50% oppose). Republicans are more divided, with 35% favoring airstrikes and 40% opposed.

Roughly four-in-ten (39%) followed news about potential U.S. airstrikes in Syria “very closely.” The percentage following news about Syria very closely has approximately doubled from recent weeks, when no more than about 20% tracked Syrian developments very closely, including earlier charges this year that the government used chemical weapons.

Americans paid more attention to the Syrian developments than other stories this week, including news about the health care laws (23% very closely), wildfires in California (20%) and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington (20%). About one-in-ten (9%) very closely followed the news about the NFL’s agreement with former players about concussion-related lawsuits.

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