09/20/2014 07:30 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Americans Back Airstrikes On ISIS Even Though They Don't Think They'll Work

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Americans remain big supporters of airstrikes against the Islamic State militants, even though few think they'll do any good, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll shows.

According to the poll, 66 percent of Americans now support the decision to conduct airstrikes against the Islamic State, while only 19 percent are opposed. Seventy percent of Democrats, 75 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of independents back an air campaign against the extremist group also known as ISIS.

Support for military action is strong even though only 32 percent of Americans think taking such action against the Islamic State will improve the situation in Iraq and Syria. Twenty-five percent said military action won't make any difference, and 17 percent said it will make things worse. Twenty-six percent said they weren't sure.

Republicans (44 percent) were notably more likely than Democrats (30 percent) or independents (28 percent) to think that military action will improve the situation in Iraq and Syria.

Moreover, few Americans think that just airstrikes -- the form of military action currently being taken by the U.S. -- will make much difference. Only 30 percent said it's possible that airstrikes alone can be an effective way to fight the militants, while 40 percent say it's not possible.

That doesn't mean they want to go any further, however. The poll found far more support for airstrikes than for other types of military intervention.

Just 38 percent of Americans said they support sending ground troops, while 44 percent were opposed. President Barack Obama has declared that ground combat troops will not be used, but administration officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, have continued to float the idea.

Similarly, only 32 percent of Americans said they support arming more moderate Syrian rebels, while 47 percent were opposed. Congress approved doing just that earlier this week at Obama's request.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Sept. 18-19 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.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here.



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