Washington, DC, October 18, 2019 — More Americans feel that withdrawing troops from northern Syria was the wrong decision rather than the right one, according to a new USA Today/Ipsos poll. Thirty-seven percent of Americans believe withdrawing troops was the wrong decision, because it will upset stability in a dangerous region, while 27% feel it was right because the U.S. has too many military commitments abroad. Another 36% are unsure or declined to pick a side. However, among the 49% of Americans that are very or somewhat familiar with the decision, there is a nearly two-to-one split in favor of it being the wrong decision. Fifty-eight percent of those familiar believe it was the wrong decision, compared to 30% who say it was the right move. Fewer than one in three Americans (31%) support President Trump’s strategy in northern Syria, though this support breaks down largely on party lines, with 57% of Republicans supporting Trump’s strategy versus just 11% of Democrats.
A majority of Americans (54%) agree that removing troops from northern Syria is damaging the U.S.’ reputation as a trusted ally, including 72% of Democrats, 50% of Independents, and 44% of Republicans. Among Republicans, more agree that troop removal is damaging to our reputation (44%) than disagree (36%). Six in ten Americans (61%) believe that we have an obligation to protect the Kurds, who fought alongside U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria, though that number rises to 76% among those familiar with the decision to withdraw troops.
Regarding the reported escape of ISIS fighters from prisons in the region, 54% believe the escaped ISIS fighters will pose a terrorist threat to the region – a sentiment that Democrats and Republicans share equally (61% and 58%, respectively). Forty-four percent believe these ISIS fighters will pose a terrorist threat to the United States, though there is a 20-percentage point difference between Democrats (57%) and Republicans (38%) on this point.
About the Study
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between October 16-17, 2019 on behalf of USA Today. For this survey, a sample of roughly 1,006 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S. Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The sample includes 380 Democrats, 413 Republicans, and 112 Independents.
The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.
Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,006, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.0 percentage points).
The poll also has a credibility interval plus or minus 5.7 percentage points for Democrats, plus or minus 5.5 percentage points for Republicans, and plus or minus 10.6 percentage points for Independents.
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