All evidence strongly points to the fact that Americans overwhelmingly oppose intervention in Syria. According to a Reuters poll conducted Aug. 19-24, only 9% are in favor of military action. A recent HuffPost/YouGov poll puts the number at 25%.
Obviously responses will vary depending on how the question is framed, but support for military intervention is, by any stretch of the imagination, a fringe, minority position.
But that hasn't stopped the American media from desperately trying to scrape together evidence to suggest otherwise. For instance, a CNN article posted a few hours ago and written by CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser claims:
As President Barack Obama weighs launching a military strike against Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons, American public opinion over whether the U.S. should get involved appears conflicted.They go on to cite polling where respondents indicated that the U.S. would be "justified" in taking action in Syria if it was proven that the Syrian government used chemical weapons "to kill civilians."
The most recent national polling over the past few months suggests that most Americans, weary after more than a decade of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, don't favor getting its military involved in the bloody fighting in Syria. But some surveys also indicate that the public feels that Washington would be justified in using military action against Damascus if there was proof the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against their own people.
The only problem is that you have to go all the way back to May, and then to December, 2012 to find these two polls — in other words, to a time when the facts on the ground were different, and Syria was not in the headlines like it is now. Calling a poll from almost a year ago a "game changer" is a strange way of characterizing things.
Even stranger is this Time article by Zeke Miller from a couple days ago, which declared:
In this article, Time dug up a Quinnipiac poll conducted in late June/early July. In this poll, 49% of respondents answered yes when asked whether we "should use weapons which don't risk American lives" to attack Syria.
Time used this to conclude that:
A plurality of Americans support potential air strikes on Syrian government installationsThey ran with the above headline despite the fact that the poll was two months old, and despite the fact that the top-line result of the poll showed strong opposition (61% opposed) to any military involvement in Syria.
Only after readers called out these discrepancies did Time acknowledge this, inserting a small disclaimer at the bottom of the page and changing the title to read "More Americans Have Supported Syrian Air Strikes Than Opposed". But you can still see the original title by looking at the URL for the page.
And the headline on Time's homepage, which is all many readers will see, still refers to public "backing" for Syrian military intervention in the present tense: