WASHINGTON - Two new polls show President Obama faces a daunting task in getting the public to support his call for military strikes against Syria, even as key Republicans voiced their support Tuesday.
Nearly six in 10 Americans are opposed to using military action as a response to the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons in the nation's bloody civil war, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Tuesday. A Pew Research Center poll, also released Tuesday afternoon, found that 48% of adults are against military strikes while 29% say they are in favor.
Obama said Saturday he was ready to use military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, but he wanted to hear from Congress on the issue. Key Republicans and Democrats have said for several days that the proposed resolution is too broad and have set out to rewrite the legislation to ensure that such military action would not be open-ended and wouldn't include boots on the ground.
Both polls included responses gathered before Obama's Rose Garden statement Saturday.
Votes could come next week when Congress returns from summer break.
House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor endorsed the military action Tuesday, and Boehner's office has made clear that Obama and the White House must take the lead in garnering support from a divided Congress. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is holding the first of two hearings on the Syria resolution.
The public's skepticism on Syria crosses party lines. Nearly half - or 48% - of respondents in the Pew poll say Obama has not explained clearly why the United States should launch airstrikes compared with 32% who say he has made the case clear.
The Pew findings also show Obama has a challenge convincing his fellow Democrats. Nearly half, or 48%, of Democrats and 40% of Republicans say they are opposed to military strikes compared with 29% and 35%, respectively, who say they are in support.
The Washington Post/ABC News poll of 1,012 adults was taken Wednesday through Sunday. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.
The Pew poll of 1,000 adults was conducted Thursday through Sunday. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points.