Politics

Poll: Majority Of Americans Want US To Do More To Fight Islamic State Group, But No Ground Troops

| by Robert Fowler
President Barack Obama.President Barack Obama.

Following the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, the majority of Americans want more intense military action taken against the Islamic State group.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that while Americans want more to be done, they do not want to see the U.S. commit ground forces to combating the terrorist group.  

The poll was conducted in the immediate aftermath of the Paris attacks and released by Reuters on Nov. 16. Terrorism is now tied with the economy as respondents’ top concern with 17 percent, an 8 percentage point bump from a previous October poll.

Of respondents, 63 percent feel afraid of the same style of attack that caught France unawares could happen near their own homes. The Reuters/Ipsos poll found that Americans have more anxiety of a terrorist attack now than after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.

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As for how the U.S. should respond to the Islamic State group’s attack on France, 60 percent of respondents agree that more must be done, but 76 percent would not approve of sending U.S. ground forces into Iraq and Syria.

Sixty-five percent don’t support U.S. special forces being sent in the region, even though several have already been deployed as a part of the Obama administration’s strategy to combat the Islamic State group.

The Paris attacks has also lead to the politicization of the Syrian refugee crisis. While the U.S. has committed to accepting 10,000 refugees over the next year, at least 27 state governors have already declared the refugees will not be welcome.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll found that Americans are deeply split on the issue, and 52 percent of respondents agree the countries that accept Syrian refugees are becoming less safe. Of those polled, 40 percent believe that nations should still help the refugees while 41 percent think they should bar them from entry over safety concerns.

For his part, President Barack Obama said in Nov. 15 press conference that the U.S. would be intensifying its commitment. He has ruled out sending U.S. troops into the region, NPR reports.

Obama has also stood by his administration’s commitment to accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees, arguing that "Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values." 

Republican politicians have been quick to denounce the Obama administration’s strategy, although they may be at odds with the majority of Americans who don’t want to see U.S. troops invade. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has said that he would commit troops to the fight; when asked how many he responded “I wouldn’t put a number on it,” The New York Times reports.

Fellow Republican presidential nominee Ben Carson has offered that the U.S. should be “using every resource known to man, in terms of economic resources, in terms of covert resources, overt resources, military resources, things-that-they-don’t-know-about resources."

Sources: The New York Times, NPR, Reuters / Photo credit: The White House/Flickr