If it's in the News, it's in our Polls. Public opinion polling since 2003.


73% Worry About Obama’s Lack of Strategy for ISIS

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Voters regard the radical Islamic terrorist group ISIS as a major threat to the United States and are very worried that President Obama doesn’t have a strategy for dealing with the problem. They remain reluctant to send U.S. troops back to Iraq to take on ISIS, but support is growing.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 67% of Likely U.S. Voters consider the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) a serious threat to this country. Just 13% disagree, while another 20% are not sure. (To see survey questions wording, click here.)

The president said last week at a press conference that the United States doesn’t have a strategy yet for dealing with the group which threatens to defeat democratic forces in Iraq and send the messy civil war in Syria further out of control.  Seventy-three percent (73%) of voters are concerned that the United States does not have a strategy for dealing with this military group, with 47% who are Very Concerned. Twenty-five percent (25%) are not concerned by this lack of a strategy, but that includes only four percent (4%) who are Not At All Concerned.

The president has authorized selective U.S. airstrikes to halt ISIS advances but has ruled out sending troops back to Iraq. Just 30% think the United States should send troops to defeat ISIS, but that’s up from 12% last December. Opposition to sending troops back to Iraq has fallen dramatically from 71% in December to 58% a month ago. Now just 41% feel that way. A sizable 29% are undecided.

Most voters approve of the president’s decision to launch U.S. military airstrikes against ISIS forces in Iraq but still think the radical Islamic insurgents are likely to take control of the country.

Twenty-nine percent (29%) rate the Obama administration’s response to ISIS as good or excellent, while 42% say it’s done a poor job.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on August 30-31, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Belief that the United States is winning the War on Terror has plummeted to its lowest level in over 10 years of regular tracking.

Seventy-nine percent (79%) of voters say they have been following recent news reports about the fighting in Iraq and Syria, with 45% who have been following Very Closely.

The reason for the president’s hesitancy may be explained in part by the finding that just 52% of Democrats consider ISIS a serious threat to the United States, compared to 82% of Republicans and 70% of voters not affiliated with either major party.

Democrats are much less concerned about the president’s lack of a strategy for dealing with the radical Islamic group.

Forty-four percent (44%) of Republicans think the United States should send troops back to Iraq to defeat ISIS, but only 21% of Democrats and 26% of unaffiliated voters agree.

Sixty-four percent (64%) of the Political Class think the administration has done a good or excellent job responding to the threat from ISIS. Fifty-three percent (53%) of Mainstream voters rate the administration’s performance in this area as poor.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of voters who consider ISIS a serious threat to the United States believe the administration has done a poor job. By a 40% to 33% margin, these voters favor sending U.S. troops to Iraq.

Sixty-one percent (61%) of all voters think the U.S. government should hunt down the ISIS terrorist who beheaded a U.S. journalist on a video posted online, and even more voters think he should receive the death penalty if tried in a U.S. court.

Voter perceptions of U.S.-Islamic relations continue to deteriorate since President Obama’s highly publicized speech in Cairo, Egypt five years ago reaching out to the Islamic world.

Voters have long expressed little enthusiasm for getting more involved in Middle East politics, but they are slightly less likely to think this involvement hurts both the region and the United States.

Sixty percent (60%) think America’s political leaders send U.S. soldiers into harm’s way too often, and 48% believe the United States is too involved in the affairs of other countries.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

Please sign up for the Rasmussen Reports daily e-mail update  (it's free) or follow us on Twitter or Facebook . Let us keep you up to date with the latest public opinion news.

Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.

We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.

Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $4.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.

To learn more about our methodology, click here.