POLITICS
04/11/2017 08:25 am ET

Here's What The Latest Polls Say About The Airstrikes In Syria

Most find about half of the public in favor.
Carlos Barria / Reuters

New surveys find initial support for last week’s airstrikes in Syria, but with little appetite for more. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie sets a dubious national record. And advocates are worried about the 2020 Census. This is HuffPollster for Tuesday, April 11, 2017.

MOST POLLS SHOW NARROW MAJORITY SUPPORTING TRUMP’S ACTIONS - Four new surveys released since President Trump ordered air strikes last week find support hovering between 50 and 57 percent. HuffPollster: “[About half] of Americans support President Donald Trump’s missile strikes against Syria in retaliation for the Syrian government’s reported use of chemicals weapons on its citizens, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov survey. The poll also found some Americans concerned about Trump’s preparation for the attack and his failure to seek congressional authorization. Fifty-one percent of Americans say they support Trump’s decision to order strikes, with 32 percent opposed, and 17 percent uncertain….Just one-third of the public thinks the strikes will be even somewhat likely to deter the use of chemical weapons, with 46 percent believing they’re somewhat unlikely or very unlikely to have any such effect…. [R]espondents were asked near the beginning of the survey whether they knew if the U.S. had conducted strikes in Syria in the past six months. While 57 percent said that it had, 19 percent said there hadn’t been any such strikes, and 24 percent that they weren’t sure….Overall, the public approves of Trump’s handling of Syria by a modest 4-point margin, 41 percent to 37 percent ― significantly better than his overall approval rating. But other questions reveal wariness about the president’s decision-making process. Americans say, 42 percent to 32 percent, that Trump did not plan carefully enough before ordering the strikes. They also say, 44 percent to 22 percent, that his actions were not consistent with his previous statements about Syria.” [HuffPost]

CBS News: “Fifty-seven percent of Americans approve of the airstrike against Syrian military targets ― calling immoral the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons that led to the strike ― but most are leery of any military involvement beyond airstrikes, a CBS News poll shows.” [CBS]

Gallup: “Americans’ support for the military strikes against Syria last week is historically low compared with reactions to previous U.S. military actions. Fifty percent of Americans approve of the missile airstrikes, while 41% disapprove. Ten percent have no opinion.” [Gallup]

Washington Post/ABC News: “Americans narrowly support missile strikes ordered by President Trump last week in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack in Syria, even as most oppose additional military efforts to remove President Bashar al-Assad from power, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. By 51 to 40 percent, more support than oppose the missile strikes launched early Friday on the Shayrat air base in Syria, with opinions dividing sharply along partisan lines.” [WashPost]

Huffington Post

Will the strikes help Trump’s approval rating?  - Harry Enten: “Most foreign policy entanglements do not result in a ‘rally around the flag’ event — when a president’s popularity jumps because Americans rally behind their commander-in-chief. That’s according to a 2001 study by William Baker of the Arkansas School for Mathematics and Sciences and John Oneal of the University of Alabama. Their study found that only 39 percent of U.S. military interventions from 1933 to 1993 resulted in a rise in the president’s approval rating. Still, 39 percent is a sizable minority of the time. So, will President Trump’s order to launch missiles at a Syrian airfield be one of them?...Americans tend to react with greater enthusiasm when there is bipartisan support for an intervention….Americans tend to give the president a boost when he’s acting against a major power…. Americans seem to respond more positively when the U.N. Security Council gives its approval to a foreign endeavor….Americans are more likely to warm toward the president when there are revisionist goals at stake….Americans are more likely to rally behind a president at the beginning of his presidency.” HuffPost Pollster’s aggregate currently puts Trump’s approval rating at an average net -12, little changed from -13 at the beginning of the month. [538, Trump approval chart]

CHRIS CHRISTIE IS THE LEAST POPULAR GOVERNOR IN THE U.S. - Morning Consult: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had a tough 2016, and this year isn’t starting off any better for him: He’s now the most unpopular governor in the country, according to the new Morning Consult Governor Approval rankings. More than 85,000 registered voters across America evaluated the job performance of their governors from from January 2017 through March 2017 to determine the latest rankings….Just 25 percent of New Jerseyans approve of their Republican governor, who continues to be dogged by the “Bridgegate” scandal. Seventy-one percent disapprove of Christie, who endorsed Donald Trump for president after dropping out of the GOP’s presidential primary in early 2016. The two most popular governors are Republicans in traditionally blue states: Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Larry Hogan of Maryland. Both governors have reputations as shrewd, bipartisan dealmakers who value results over party purity, and their constituents seem to appreciate that style. Three-fourths (75 percent) of Bay Staters approve of Baker, while 17 percent disapprove. In Maryland, 73 percent approve of Hogan, and 16 percent disapprove.” [Morning Consult]

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders holds his place as the most popular Senator - Morning Consult: “Three-quarters (75 percent) of Vermonters approve of the liberal firebrand who finished as runner-up to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, compared with 21 percent who disapprove. However, Sanders’ elevation to national prominence does appear to have compromised his standing among some of his constituents. His approval was down 12 points (from 87 percent) compared with his numbers in September, while his disapproval was up 9 points (from 12 percent).” [Morning Consult]

THE 2020 CENSUS COULD BE HURT BY TRUMP’S RHETORIC - Danny Vinik: “The first day of this month marked three years until Census Day: April 1, 2020. Though it may sound like one of the driest bureaucratic responsibilities of the federal government, the census has crucial implications for national politics—and requires years of planning, hundreds of thousands of new employees and even a marketing campaign to ensure the broadest possible snapshot of the American population. Already, Congress’ inability to agree on a full-year funding measure for fiscal 2017 has forced the Census Bureau to cancel multiple field tests and delay opening three field offices….And more broadly, the Trump administration’s hard-line rhetoric and executive orders cracking down on undocumented immigrants may already be creating a major new risk for the census, making members of minority and immigrant communities less likely to respond. ‘If you imagine that the federal government is asking for personal information and you feel that the federal government is hostile and that if you were to answer this, perhaps they would use this against you,’ said Terry Ao Minnis, director of the census and voting programs at Asian Americans Advancing Justice. ‘That, of course, will make people less inclined to participate.’” [Politico]

COOK POLITICAL CHANGES RACE RATINGS FOR TWO SPECIAL ELECTIONS - Dave Wasserman on the KS-04 and GA-06 races: “In the final hours of the special election to replace new CIA Director Mike Pompeo in Wichita, Kansas, Republicans are expressing alarm that Democrat James Thompson is within striking distance of carrying a seat President Trump won by 27 points last November. Although GOP state Treasurer Ron Estes remains the favorite heading into Election Day, we are shifting our rating from Likely Republican to Lean Republican….There is a real chance Democrat Jon Ossoff, who is dramatically outspending the rest of the field while the main GOP contenders turn on each other, could hit 50 percent on April 18 and avoid a runoff. As such, we are moving GA-06 to Toss Up.” [Cook, New PVI ratings]

Visualizing Democrats’ backlash against Trump: Alissa Scheller and Daniel Marans: “President Donald Trump’s election has sparked an enormous groundswell of activism from rank-and-file voters angry about his policies. Political analysts have wondered whether Democrats can turn this wave of progressive enthusiasm into concrete electoral gains in the 2018 midterms. One way to test that: special elections to fill empty state legislature and congressional seats….The Huffington Post has created a visualization comparing Democrats’ margins in each special election held so far this year to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s margin against Trump in the same district last fall. We’ll be updating this resource as more races take place.” [HuffPost]

FEW SEE MUCH PROGRESS IN ‘DRAINING THE SWAMP’ - HuffPollster, on a HuffPost/YouGov survey: “Fifty-two percent say that Trump has done ‘not very well’ or ‘not at all well’ at upholding his promise to “drain the swamp of government corruption,” with only 30 percent saying he’s done even somewhat well. Just 6 percent think he’s done ‘very well’ at fulfilling that pledge….Even after several months as the nation’s top-ranking elected official, Trump still isn’t seen as a political insider. Sixty-nine percent of Americans still consider him to be more of an outsider, with just 12 percent saying he’s part of the establishment.” [HuffPost]

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TUESDAY’S ‘OUTLIERS’ - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-Gallup tests support for 15 of President Trump’s proposals and actions. [Gallup]

-Kathy Frankovic notes increased GOP support for some provisions of Obamacare. [YouGov]

-Nelson Schwartz looks at the way partisanship helps to drive views of the economy. [NYT]

-Perry Bacon Jr. tallies support in the Senate for Trump’s Syria air strikes. [538]

-Aaron Blake argues that gerrymandering gets too much blame for polarization. [WashPost]

-Michael Lipka and David McClendon predict that the religiously unaffiliated share of the world’s population will decline.[Pew]

-John Gramlich and Kristen Bialik write that federal law enforcement agencies are making more arrests for immigration-related offenses than they were 10 years ago. [Pew]

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