Americans favor diplomacy over war against Syria

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama did not make a convincing case for military intervention, according a CNN poll of Americans who watched the speech on Tuesday night.

Under intense criticism from members of Congress and polls showing a lack of support from the American people, President Obama hoped that he would be able to sway public opinion by taking repeating the same talking points that had been in the next for the past few weeks in a televised address.

But the CNN poll shows that 50% of Americans believe that President Obama failed to make a convincing case for military strikes. The poll found that 47% said that he did make the case, putting the results within the margin of error.

Additionally, 58% of Americans who watched the speech say that air strikes against Syria would not achieve significant goals for the United States. There was a slight shift in the numbers on this question from the pre-speech poll of the same respondents when 66% said that air strikes be unsuccessful.

Those who believe that air strikes would accomplish the United States goals’ rose from 30% pre-speech to 36% after.

Americans are, however, more confident in the outcome of a diplomatic solution brokered by Russia, with 65% saying that such an angle is likely to resolve the dispute.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) reacted positively to President Obama’s speech, with 35% describing calling their reaction “very positive” and 34% saying it was “somewhat positive.” Though that’s still a high number, it’s down from CNN’s past post-speech favorables.

For example, after the State of the Union address on February 12, 2013, CNN found that 77% of Americans reacted positively, including 53% who said their reaction was “very positive.” That number is actually down from the 2012 State of the Union address, when 84% of viewers said they reacted positively.

Perhaps the most compelling part of the poll is that 60% say that the involvement in the Syrian civil war is not in the national interest of the United States, largely rejecting one of President Obama’s frequent talking points on the need for intervention.

He may have moved the needle ever so slightly, but Americans are still not buying President Obama’s call for the United States to get involved in yet another conflict after more than a decade costly wars.


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