A new poll shows how difficult President Barack Obama's job of convincing the American public – and Congress – that the United States should initiate a military intervention in Syria, following confirmed reports of a chemical weapon attack that left more than 1,400, including 400 children, dead.
About half of all Americans oppose military air strikes in Syria, while only about a third support such action, according to a new survey released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.
More Republicans support action than Democrats and independents, the poll found.
"The public has long been skeptical of U.S. involvement in Syria, but an April survey found more support than opposition to the idea of a U.S.-led military response if the use of chemical weapons was confirmed," said a memo accompanying the poll results. "The new survey finds both broad concern over the possible consequences of military action in Syria and little optimism it will be effective."
Top Obama administration officials are spending Tuesday and Wednesday testifying before House and Senate committees to make the case for military action, following the president's decision over the weekend to seek congressional approval.
Only 32 percent of Americans said Obama has sufficiently made the case for U.S. involvement in Syria and 48 percent said he has not – numbers that parallel overall support for the effort. Though support or opposition holds even across most demographics, the Pew survey found twice as many men support military strikes as opposed to women – 39 percent of men and just 19 percent of women are in favor.
The poll surveyed 1,000 adults from Aug. 29-Sept. 1 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percent.