Most Americans oppose Syria strike: Poll

Protesters march on Wilshire Boulevard during an anti-war rally in Los Angeles, California on Saturday, Sept 7, 2013. The American public strongly opposes a US military intervention in Syria, despite a majority believing that President Bashar al
Protesters march on Wilshire Boulevard during an anti-war rally in Los Angeles, California on Saturday, Sept 7, 2013. The American public strongly opposes a US military intervention in Syria, despite a majority believing that President Bashar al Assad's regime gassed its own people, a poll showed on Monday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The American public strongly opposes a US military intervention in Syria, despite a majority believing that President Bashar al-Assad's regime gassed its own people, a poll showed on Monday.

Almost six in 10 of the 1,022 adults questioned - 59 per cent - said Congress should not pass a resolution authorising even limited military action against Syria, a CNN/ORC International poll found.

More than seven in 10 said any such strike would not achieve significant US goals or serve US national interests.

And even if Congress authorises military action against Syria, a 55-per cent majority would still oppose air strikes against Syrian military targets.

Without congressional support, the opponents increased to 71 per cent of respondents.

However, most of those questioned - 57 per cent - said their representative's vote in Congress would not make a difference in how they voted in upcoming 2014 mid-term elections. The mid-term polls are usually dominated by domestic issues.

The poll comes at the start of a crucial week for US President Barack Obama, who is set to make a round of interviews with six major television news outlets later Monday as he seeks to convince the American public and reluctant lawmakers.

On Tuesday, the president will travel to Capitol Hill to press lawmakers in person just hours before he addresses Americans from the White House, ahead of a possible Senate vote on authorising force in Syria later this week.

The CNN poll had a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

A separate poll of lawmakers by USA Today found that Mr Obama faces a daunting task on Capitol Hill.

Only a small fraction of the 533 US lawmakers - just 22 senators and 22 representatives - said they will support the use of military force against the Assad regime.

Overall, 19 senators and 130 members of the House of Representatives said they will oppose a resolution authorising military action.

But a broad majority of lawmakers in both houses of Congress said they remained undecided.

Even among Mr Obama's fellow Democrats, lawmakers said they were as likely to vote for as against the measure supporting military action - with 28 voicing support and 28 saying they are against such a resolution.

A Washington Post count of support on the Hill found 25 senators were in favour, 17 opposed, 10 leaning no and 50 undecided, while in the House, 25 representatives were in favour, 111 against, 116 leaning no and 181 undecided.