- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 9, 2014

An overwhelming majority of Americans want Congress to reconvene and vote before the November elections on an authorization for use of military force against the terrorist army known as Islamic State, found a new poll released Thursday.

The Reason-Rupe poll showed that 78 percent of voters want lawmaker to return from their two-month campaign season break to vote on President Obama’s plan to fight the terrorists who have overrun large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria.

Just 16 percent of Americans said they wanted Congress members to stay on the campaign trail and not return to Washington for the vote before the Nov. 4 elections.

Most Americans will be disappointed because Congress leaders do not plan to call members back to vote on Mr. Obama’s plan, which includes airstrikes and arming and training Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State, which also is known by the acronym ISIL or ISIS.

The president’s plan does not include sending in combat troops, although several hundred military advisers are being deployed to help Iraqi forces.

The poll found that two-thirds — 66 percent — of Americans support U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State fighters.

While 58 percent said they think U.S. ground troops will be necessary to defeat the terrorists, that option remains unpopular.

About 52 percent oppose deploying U.S. combat troop to Iraq and Syria, compared to 43 percent who currently support the move, according to the poll.

There is even less support for arming Syrian rebels, with 35 percent of Americans in favor of it and 55 percent opposed, the survey found.

“That opposition could stem from the fear that those weapons will eventually be used against Americans,” said the pollsters. “The public estimates there is a 78 percent chance that weapons provided to Syrian rebels will ultimately be used against America or its allies.”

When pollsters asked why Congress didn’t vote on the use of force authorization before leaving Washington, 63 percent of respondents said lawmakers “don’t want to put their vote on the official record.”

Another 15 percent said that they think Congress doesn’t believe President Obama needs its authorization for military action. About 8 percent said they think Congress simply didn’t have enough time to hold the vote, according to the poll.

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