Poll Probes Americans' Attitudes Toward ISIS and Syria

Poll Probes Americans' Attitudes Toward ISIS and Syria

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In a new public opinion survey, Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, provides a detailed picture of American public attitudes toward ISIS and the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. The poll probes the complex and often divided reasoning behind public attitudes.

Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings InstitutionKey questions addressed in the poll include:

  • What drives Americans’ support for the anti-ISIS struggle?
  • Are Americans confident that the current strategy will permanently defeat ISIS? 

"It’s been puzzling that the American public suddenly became open to American intervention in the Middle East, after Iraq war fatigue. The beheadings by ISIS don’t provide a compelling enough answer. Our poll was designed to probe more deeply into the reasons behind the public’s change of mind and to explore the degree to which Americans want to plunge more deeply into a war with ISIS," Professor Telhami said. 

"Among the key findings is that one main reason the public sees ISIS as a major threat is that they perceive it as an extension of Al-Qaeda, with which the U.S. remains at war. Nonetheless, the public remains opposed to sending ground forces even if current efforts fail--although Republicans are far more supportive of deploying ground forces than other Americans."

Professor Telhami provided detailed analysis on January 8, as the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at Brookings released results from this poll at a special event.

Read the full report about the poll.

Dr. Telhami was joined in the discussion of his poll by E.J. Dionne, Jr., Senior Fellow at Brookings and Washington Post columnist; and by Susan Glasser, editor, POLITICO. Tamara Cofman Wittes, senior fellow and director of the Center for Middle East Policy, provided introductory remarks and served as the moderator. The discussion is scheduled to be aired on C-Span.

Follow the discussion via #ISISpoll.

Source: Laura Ours, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

January 8, 2015


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