Americans torn on taking military action in Syria, poll shows

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Updated: 8/30/2013 5:32 pm
(NBC) -- NBC has released a new series of polls, showing 50 percent of Americans opposing United States military involvement in Syria.

The two-day poll was conducted Aug. 28-29 as the Obama administration weighs launching strikes against Syria for its alleged use of chemicals weapons in its violent civil war.

The poll shows 42 percent of Americans support military involvement in Syria.

However, those numbers flip when the military action is defined to mean launching cruise missiles from naval warships – 50 percent favor it, while 44 percent oppose it.

And 58 percent agree with the statement that the use of chemical weapons by any country violates a “red line” that requires a significant U.S. response, including the possibility of U.S. action.

One area that created less division was regarding congressional approval: 79 percent of respondents – including nearly seven in 10 Democrats and 90 percent of Republicans – say the president should be required to receive congressional approval before taking any action.

The poll also finds that only 21 percent think taking action against the Syrian government is in the United States’ national interest. By comparison, 33 percent disagree and 45 percent don’t know enough to have an opinion.

Obama’s job approval is at 44 percent, and only 35 percent of respondents approve of his handling of the situation in Syria.

The NBC poll was conducted Aug. 28-29 of 700 adults (including 210 cell phone-only respondents), and it has a margin of plus-minus 3.7 percentage points.

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