Six in 10 Americans said they oppose airstrikes, with similar majorities saying they fear military action could throw the United States in another long military engagement in the Middle East and would increase the terrorist threat to Americans, results of the Times-CBS News poll released Monday indicated.
President Obama is trying to popular support from a divided Congress and an American public for a limited airstrike against Syria in response to evidence that President Bashar Assad's forces used chemical weapons in an Aug. 21 attack near Damascus in which hundreds of people died. Obama addresses the nation on the crisis in Syria Tuesday.
Sixty-two percent of participants said the United States should not take the lead in trying to solve foreign conflicts, while only 34 percent said it should, results indicated.
Asked whether the United States should intervene in shifting dictatorships to democracies, 72 percent said no and 15 percent said yes, the Times said.
Results are based on nationwide telephone surveys of 1,011 adults conducted Friday through Sunday. The overall margin of error is 3 percentage points.
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