Americans are skeptical that diplomatic efforts in Syria will result in the Syrian government surrendering its chemical weapons, according to two new polls released Monday. The polls also found Americans broadly support diplomatic approaches to the Syrian conflict.
According to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted Sept. 13 and Sept. 14, 11 percent of respondents said it's likely Syria will give up its chemical weapons, and 29 percent said it was somewhat likely. On the other side, 28 percent said it's not very likely, and 16 percent said it's not at all likely.
A Pew Research Center poll conducted Sept. 12 to Sept. 15 found similar skepticism, with 26 percent of respondents saying that Syria will give up its chemical weapons in response to diplomacy and 57 percent saying it won't.
Both polls included interviews conducted before and after a major breakthrough Saturday when a deal was announced between the United States and Russia establishing a framework for Syria to give up its weapons supply.
Each poll found broad support among Americans for the Obama administration's diplomatic efforts. In the HuffPost/YouGov poll, 56 percent of respondents said they thought the U.S. should be involved in diplomatic discussions to get Syria to give up its weapons stock, and 26 percent said it should not be. In the Pew survey, respondents approved by a 67 percent to 23 percent margin of the Obama administration delaying air strikes in favor of a diplomatic approach.
Air strikesremain broadly unpopular. Respondents to the HuffPost/YouGov poll said by a 62 percent to 13 percent margin that the U.S. should not use airstrikes in Syria. By a 49 percent to 37 percent margin, respondents to the Pew poll said they oppose air strikes even if Syria does not give up its chemical weapons.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll found Americans divided over whether the threat of force helps or hurts diplomatic efforts in Syria. Thirty-two percent of respondents said that the threat of air strikes will help efforts to get Syria to relinquish its chemical weapons, while 37 percent said that the threat of strikes is counterproductive. Another 31 percent said they weren't sure.
Although the survey found opposition to air strikes across the political spectrum, Democrats in the poll were most likely to say the threat of strikes will aid diplomatic efforts. A 43 percent to 24 percent plurality of Democrats said that the threat is helpful to diplomatic efforts. A 40 percent to 23 percent plurality of independents and a 51 percent to 31 percent majority of Republicans said that the threat of strikes is counterproductive.
President Barack Obama has said the U.S. is "prepared to act" if Syria does not comply with the agreement.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Sept. 13 and Sept. 14 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.