Voters Across Age Groups are United in their Opposition to Military Action in Syria

In the August 28-29 national survey for NBC/Wall Street Journal (conducted jointly by Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies and Fred Yang of Hart Research Associates), the numbers on Syria were clearly challenging for the President. Less than two weeks later, the numbers on the three questions that were tested again were decidedly worse.

chart 1

Especially problematic for the President is that opposition to military action in Syria crosses almost all demographic subgroups, including the age groups (age 18-34 and age 65+) where we often see a significant generational difference.

Key Syria Data by Age

Adults Age 18-34 (28{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) Adults Age 65+ (15{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222})
Military Action in Syria in our National Interest 25{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Yes, in National Interest/
44{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} No, Not in National Interest
19{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Yes, in National Interest/
46{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} No, Not In National Interest
Congress Vote on Military Action 32{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Should Approve of Action/
58{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Should Not Approve of Action
29{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Should Approve of Action/
58{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Should Not Approve of Action
If Only Limited Air Strikes 42{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Support/
53{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Oppose
42{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Support/
51{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Oppose


As the above table demonstrates, the data is close to identical among younger adults and seniors on whether Congress should vote to approve military action, as well as if there would be support for military action if it was limited to air strikes. There is more of a difference on the question of whether or not military action would be in our national interest, but the data is still quite similar.

One question where we did see a distinct difference among younger adults and seniors is on whether or not President Obama has made a convincing case about the need for the United States to take military action against Syria.

 chart 2

The data is largely consistent among voters age 18-34, 35-49, and 50-64, with about one-third saying the President has made a convincing case and one-half saying he has not. However, the numbers are even more ominous for the President among seniors, with only a quarter (24{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) saying he has made the case, compared to a significant majority (61{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) who say he has not.

Perhaps most troubling for the President and his administration is the consistency of opposition to taking military action in Syria, and the data by age is a clear demonstration of this daunting problem.


Public Opinion Strategies