65% Want U.S. To Stay Out of Syrian Crisis
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Dictatorial Syria appears to be cracking down harder on anti-government
protestors than any other country in the region except Libya, but U.S.
voters are adamant about staying out of the problems of yet another Arab
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just nine
percent (9%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the United States should get more
directly involved in the Syrian crisis. Sixty-five percent (65%) say America
should leave the situation alone. But one-in-four voters (25%) arenít sure.
These findings are comparable to the views voters held in the early stages
of the protests in Egypt in late January and in Libya a month later.
Yet while the Obama administration has limited itself publicly to criticism
of the Syrian governmentís actions, just 28% of voters think the
administrationís response has been good or excellent. Nearly as many (23%)
rate the response as poor.
Sixty-seven percent (67%) say they are following recent news reports about
the political unrest in Syria at least somewhat closely, with 27% who are
following Very Closely. This is slightly less interest than Americans showed
toward Egypt and Libya as protests in those countries grew. The high level
of uncertainty in some of the responses suggests voters are not following
the Syrian situation very closely at this time.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on May 9-10, 2011 by
Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points
with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys
is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Only four percent (4%) of voters consider Syria an ally of the United
States, while 23% view it as an enemy. Fifty-four percent (54%) see the
country as somewhere in between an ally and an enemy, while 19% more arenít
sure how to categorize it.
Syria, which borders Israel to the northeast along the Golan Heights, has
long been one of the Jewish stateís harshest foes and has played a major
role in destabilizing neighboring Lebanon.
Americans have consistently said in surveys for years that Israel is one of
the top U.S. allies. Itís also one of only five countries worldwide that
most Americans think the United States should help defend militarily if it
Twenty-seven percent (27%) of voters believe a change in the government of
Syria would be good for the United States, while 11% think such a change
would be bad for America. Twenty-nine percent (29%) say it would have no
impact. A sizable 34%, however, are undecided.
Thereís virtually no partisan disagreement when it comes to U.S. involvement
in the Syrian crisis. But while 54% of Democrats think the administrationís
response to events there has been good or excellent, just 10% of Republicans
and 20% of voters not affiliated with either of the major parties agree.
Republicans and unaffiliated voters are more than twice as likely as
Democrats to regard Syria as an enemy of the United States.
Voters remain almost evenly divided over President Obamaís decision to
commit U.S. military forces on the side of rebels seeking to overthrow
Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Even before the stepped-up U.S. role in Libya, 58% of Americans worried that
the political unrest in Arab countries like Egypt and Libya may get America
into another big war.
But 76% of voters believe that itís generally good for America when
dictators in other countries are replaced with leaders selected in free and
Most Americans donít feel that the killing of Osama bin Laden will worsen
U.S. relations with the Muslim world.
A month ago, voter confidence in U.S. efforts in the War on Terror fell to
its lowest level in over four years. Now, that confidence has soared
following the killing of bin Laden. Voters are also much more confident that
the country is safer today than it was before the September 11, 2001 terror
attacks that bin Laden orchestrated.