On Wednesday, CNN released a poll of 367 Americans who watched President Obama’s Syria speech. The polling sample skewed heavily Democratic, with 20% Republicans, 37% Democrats, and 43% Independents. The poll found that while Americans largely approved of what they perceived to be President Obama’s Syria policy, they disagreed with his actual policies.
Some 69% said they were very or somewhat positive about Obama’s speech. Another 61% said that they favored the “approach to Syria that Barack Obama described in his speech tonight.” Nonetheless, 50% of Americans said Obama had not made “a convincing case about the need for the US to take military action against Syria.” 65% were under the belief that it was very or somewhat likely that the situation in Syria would be “resolved through diplomatic efforts without the use of military force,” while 58% said they believed that an air strike on Syria would not achieve “significant goals for the United States.” A full 60% of Americans said it was not in the national interests of the United States to be involved in the Syrian conflict at all.
The poll begs the question: how could Americans say they approve of Obama’s approach to Syria while disagreeing with virtually every element of that approach? The answer is that most Americans like President Obama personally, but have little understanding of exactly what Obama’s policy is – which makes sense, considering that Obama’s policy changes day-by-day and is utterly incoherent, even to him. Perhaps, as Greg Sargent of The Washington Post believes, the American public favors threats of force in order to achieve diplomatic ends, but opposes military action – but that is not Obama’s policy. He has openly stated repeatedly that should diplomacy fail, force will be used, and as of last week, expressed complete skepticism about the possibility of negotiations achieving material ends.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).