Americans Don’t Want US to Intervene in Syria: Poll

Most Americans don't want US intervention even if chemical weapons are used, according to poll
May 2, 2013 Updated: May 2, 2013

Only 1 in 10 Americans think the U.S. should intervene in Syria’s civil war, according to a poll published Wednesday. 

If chemical weapons were used by Syrian government-backed forces on rebels, further U.S. intervention in the crisis would be backed by only 27 percent of respondents in the Reuters/Ipsos poll. 

“Particularly given Afghanistan and the 10th anniversary of Iraq, there is just not an appetite for intervention,” said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark, according to Reuters. 

Public opinion appears to chime with current caution from the White House. 

Syria’s 2-year-old civil war has resulted in 70,000 deaths and spurned over 1.2 million refugees, as rebels seek to overthrow the existing government led by President Bashar al-Assad.

Reports of the use of chemical weapons by Assad’s forces have accompanied a recent escalation of the conflict. 

President Obama conceded on Tuesday that there is evidence of the use of chemical weapons, but said not enough information exists to justify any shift in U.S. policy. 

The United States is currently providing nonleathal aid to Syrian rebels in the civil war.

Obama last year said that the use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line,” but he repeatedly stressed on Tuesday he would not be pushed prematurely into deeper intervention.

One reason U.S. public appetite for engagement is so low may be lack of awareness. According to the poll, many Americans are still oblivious to the unfolding civil war in Syria. 

About one-third, 36 percent, had neither heard nor read anything about the civil war there.

Eight percent said they had heard or read a great deal, with 19 percent saying they had heard or read a “fair amount.”

 According to Reuters, the poll was conducted online with a total sample of 519 Americans aged 18, April 26–May 1.