- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 12, 2015

Seventy-three percent of American voters say the Obama administration does not have a clear strategy for defeating the Islamic State terrorist group, compared to 19 percent who say it does.

That’s actually down from late September, when 26 percent said the administration had a clear strategy and 64 percent said it did not, according to a new Fox News poll.

The authorization for use of military force (AUMF) to combat the group Mr. Obama sent to Congress Wednesday prohibits “enduring offensive ground combat operations,” but Mr. Obama said the language could allow for the use of U.S. troops in limited circumstances.

Sixty percent of respondents in the poll, conducted Sunday to Tuesday, said defeating the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, will require a “significant” number of U.S. ground troops, compared to 23 percent who said defeating the group can be done through airstrikes alone.

About seven in 10 supported the United States’ giving Jordan the military supplies it needs to fight the group in the wake of a recent burning execution of a Jordanian pilot.

Two-thirds said the federal government is doing an “only fair” or “poor” job in reducing the threat of terrorism from Islamic extremists.

When it comes to possible responses to the kidnappings of Americans by Islamic extremists, nine in 10 voters favored an attempted rescue by U.S. Special Forces, and voters were divided, 48 percent to 48 percent, on refusing to negotiate at all.

Twenty percent favored trading terrorists in U.S. custody, compared to to 76 who were opposed, and 15 percent favored paying ransom, compared to 82 percent who were opposed.

Mr. Obama’s overall approval rating was at 45 percent in the poll, with 49 percent disapproving. Fifty-three percent disapproved of how he’s handling the issues of terrorism and foreign policy.

The poll of 1,044 registered voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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