Poll: Americans Support President Trump's Strike on Syria

May 9, 2018

A week after the dust settled from President Donald Trump's missile strike against Syria, a majority of Americans expressed support for the strikes, according to new data from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The survey, conducted shortly after the military strike by the US, the UK, and France (April 20- 22, 2018), explores US public opinion on Syria and US-Russia relations, particularly US sanctions on Russia, in the wake of the Syrian conflict.

The survey’s main findings include:

  • Six in ten Americans (57 percent) support the airstrikes.
  • Large differences by political affiliation. A strong majority of Republicans (82 percent) support the strike, compared to a minority of Democrats (41 percent). Independents hovered in the middle (51 percent).
  • Informed Americans were more likely to support military action. Two-thirds (67 percent) of those who heard or read at least a fair amount about the military action favored the airstrike, compared to half (47 percent) of those who heard or read not very much or nothing at all about it.
  • Bipartisan support for additional strikes if Syria uses chemical weapons again; Republicans (90 percent) and Democrats (62 percent).
  • A majority of Americans think future U.S. strikes on military targets in Syria could escalate to an armed conflict between the U.S. and Russia (14 percent very likely, 47 percent somewhat likely).
  • Most Americans support maintaining or increasing sanctions against Russia. Four in ten Republicans and independents (43 percent), and two in ten Democrats (23 percent) think sanctions should stay the same. Meanwhile, 51 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of independents, and 64 percent of Democrats think they should be increased.

For more data, including opinions on who is to blame for enabling Asaad to continue his use of chemical weapons and on US efforts to isolate Russia, please view and download the full report here.

The analysis in this report is based on data from a 2018 Chicago Council survey of the American public on the situation in Syria. This survey was conducted by GfK Custom Research using their national online omnibus service, KnowledgePanel™, between April 20-22, 2018. A total of approximately 1,000 interviews were completed, with approximately 500 female adults and 500 male adults. The margin of error on weighted data is ±3 percentage points for the full sample, with higher margins of error for partial-sample items and subgroups.

This survey is made possible by the generous support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.