Wednesday, October 1, 2014

rallying 'round the flagpole

It looks as if American public opinion is strongly endorsing the military campaign against ISIL.  In fact, the president's approval rating for the issue has reached 50%, a big jump from his recent standing. Time will tell [as we analysts say when we don't want to risk predicting but do want to toss in a dollop of skepticism] whether public support remains strong as the costs rise and U.S. casualties are suffered.

Here's the latest from ABC News:
  • SEVEN IN 10 AMERICANS SUPPORT AIR STRIKES against Islamic State insurgents in Syria, but far fewer back sending U.S. forces to Iraq as advisers - evidence in a new ABC News-Washington Post poll of the political risks of returning U.S. soldiers to that volatile region, ABC NEWS POLLSTER GARY LANGER notes. Fifty-three percent support sending U.S. forces to train Iraqi government troops and coordinate air strikes against Islamic State positions. But that's comparatively modest in terms of support for military action, and 17 percentage points behind the public's endorsement of air strikes. The Obama administration's campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria includes placing U.S. advisers in Iraq to coordinate air strikes, and training of Iraqi forces may occur. The president - perhaps cognizant of broad public dismay with the U.S. intervention in Iraq under his predecessor, George W. Bush - has pledged not to engage U.S. forces in a combat role.
  • OBAMA HAS A 50 PERCENT APPROVAL RATING FOR HANDLING THE CONFLICT WITH ISIS in this poll, LANGER writes - far from stellar - but exceeding the 44 percent who disapprove. It's also more than the 42 percent approval of his handling of the situation in Iraq in June and August, before U.S.-led air strikes were extended to ISIS positions in Syria. Notably, Obama receives approval from 30 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of conservatives for his handling of the situation - well short of majorities, but also far above his overall job approval ratings from those groups, 10 and 19 percent, respectively, in an ABC/Post poll in early September. He also gets 45 percent approval from political independents for handling the confrontation with ISIS, 8 points better than his overall job rating from this group.

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