All of their voting does make a difference to me, said Lisa Cullen, 47, a saleswoman and a Democrat from Charlotte, N.C.
It also matters to Democrat Gloria Mauricio, 63, of San Antonio, Texas. I dont want there to be another war. They can bomb us just as bad, she said.
Republicans could feel the most heat one in three Republicans say theyd be less likely to back someone who supported the president, compared with one in five Democrats.
Overall, the survey offered a portrait of a public with little taste for Obamas plan.
Basically, we feel its a situation where it opens up so many other wounds and difficulties in the international arena were involved in, said Rema Gray-Olyphant, a retired teacher from Melbourne, Fla.
Voters do support Obama asking Congress for approval.
I think its important, with what happened over the last decade, that they see our government . . . as one body," said Louis Dominguez, 66, a retired teacher from San Pedro, Calif., referring to lengthy wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The presidents job approval rating was 44 percent, up slightly from July. But 54 percent dislike of his handling of foreign policy, a sharp increase from July and the first time since he became president in January 2009 that a majority have disapproved. The 38 percent who do approve of his foreign policy work is the lowest of his presidency.
Obamas recent action makes us look weak. He has made a mockery out of our foreign policy, said Rick Turner, 39, who works in the Dallas restaurant industry. I would have supported Americas use of force if we hadnt of hemmed and hawed about it. I think we have lost every advantage that we had.
Judy Crow ODonnell, a retired clergywoman from Fort Worth, Texas, still backs Obama but opposes the airstrikes.
I am glad that he is bringing in Congress, but I am also a pacifist, and I think violence begets violence, she said.
Americans also want help from other nations. By 77 percent to 21 percent, respondents wanted the U.S. to have support from other countries. Great Britain, traditionally one of the United States strongest allies, wont be part of a coalition since its House of Commons voted against the mission.
Even limited strikes unbelievably small, Secretary of State John Kerry has said worry Americans.
By 55 percent to 39 percent, they said such action would make it likely the U.S. was in for a long-term military commitment in Syria. Nor do people think Syria will be discouraged from using chemical weapons. By a slim margin, 49 percent to 47 percent, the public thinks that country is likely to use such weapons.
This survey of 963 adults was conducted Sept. 7-8. Adults 18 years of age and older residing in the continental United States were interviewed by telephone. Telephone numbers were selected based upon a list of telephone exchanges from throughout the nation. The exchanges were selected to ensure that each region was represented in proportion to its population. To increase coverage, this landline sample was supplemented by respondents reached through random dialing of cellphone numbers. The two samples were then combined and balanced to reflect the 2010 Census results for age, gender, income, race, and region. Results are statistically significant within plus or minus 3.2 percentage points. There are 856 registered voters. The results for this subset are statistically significant within plus or minus 3.3 percentage points. The error margin increases for cross-tabulations.
Mary Faddoul and Kendall Helblig of the Washington Bureau contributed.