Americans overwhelmingly view Islamic State terrorists as a serious threat to vital U.S. interests and, in a significant shift, widely support airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The nation’s increasingly hawkish mood will form part of the backdrop fora speech by President Obama on Wednesday, when he will outline his thinking on how to confront the threat from the Islamic State. Obama’s remarks will come a day after he confers with congressional leaders at the White House about the administration’s planning.
Those meetings with Congress are taking place today, and I'm sure that the results will be historic. Good, bad, and historic, actually.
His overall foreign policy ratings are his lowest yet in a Post-ABC News poll. A majority says the president is too cautious when it comes to international problems and specifically in dealing with Islamic State militants. His handling of Russian aggression in Ukraine receives somewhat better marks, but more than 4 in 10 still say he is too cautious.
The war drums are beating pretty loudly and the people are forgetting the last ten years in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Today, 71 percent of all Americans say they support airstrikes in Iraq — up from 54 percent three weeks ago and from 45 percent in June. Among those who say Obama has been too cautious, 82 percent support the strikes; among those who think his handling of international affairs has been about right, 66 percent support them.
Nearly as many Americans — 65 percent — say they support the potentially more controversial action of launching airstrikes in Syria, which Obama has not done. That is more than double the level of support a year ago for launching airstrikes to punish the Syrian regime for using chemical weapons.
Support for arming Kurdish forces opposing the Sunni insurgents in Iraq also has risen over the past month, from 45 percent in August to 58 percent in the new survey.
Republicans are most supportive of military action, but sizable majorities of Democrats and independents also support airstrikes in both Syria and Iraq.
So will this be Libya, where airstrikes and Libyan rebels were able to defeat Qaddafi, or will this be Iraq War III: This Time We're Serious?
We'll see what Wednesday's speech holds.