A new Reason poll confirms that many Americans believe President Barack Obama needs the authorization of Congress to fight a new war in Syria and Iraq. Seventy-eight percent of Americans say Congress should return to Washington before the midterm elections to vote for a new “Authorization for Use of Military Force” against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Only 16 percent say Congress should not return to Washington to address the issue.
A 55 percent majority opposes the Obama administration’s plan to arm Syrian rebels with U.S. weapons to fight ISIS. Only 35 percent of those polled support the plan. And a large majority believes that the weapons that do flow into the hands of rebels will end up being used against the United States and its allies at some point.
Americans are divided on whether to raise taxes and cut spending to fund the military costs of the operation. Forty-two percent of say they prefer raising taxes, while 39 percent favor cutting spending. Six percent just want to borrow money.
What would we need to cut?
Reason-Rupe asked Americans what federal spending they’d cut first to pay for the war against ISIS — 19 percent would start with cuts to social safety net programs like food stamps and unemployment insurance; 17 percent would reduce infrastructure and transportation spending; 9 percent would cut science and medical research; 7 percent would cut Social Security or Medicare; 3 percent would decrease education spending; and 2 percent would cut veterans programs. Twenty-three percent selected a variety of minor programs not presented as options and 16 percent said they didn’t know which program they’d cut.
According to Reason, the number of Americans who believe President Obama is doing a better job than George W. Bush on foreign policy bumped from 32 percent to 35 percent over the last year. But only 38 percent of Americans now approve of the way President Obama is handling foreign policy, while 51 percent disapprove.
You can see the full results of the poll here.