- The Washington Times - Friday, February 13, 2015

Even as most Americans want their member of Congress to support President Obama’s requested authorization to combat the Islamic State terrorist group, a plurality says Mr. Obama will be remembered more for starting a new war than ending one.

Forty-four percent of Americans say Mr. Obama, who campaigned on his opposition to the Iraq War, will be remembered more for starting a new war, while 40 percent say he’ll be remembered more for ending one, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll.

Fifty-nine percent of Democrats think he’ll be remembered more for ending a war and 30 percent think he’ll be remembered more for starting a new one, while 62 percent of Republicans think he’ll be remembered more for starting a new one, compared to 18 percent who say he’ll be remembered more for ending one.

“This challenge will bear on the president’s legacy,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “By nearly two to one, Democrats think President Obama will still be remembered for ending a war, but by more than three to one, Republicans see the president’s legacy as having started a new one.”

Nevertheless, 54 percent of Americans want their member of Congress to vote to authorize military action against the Islamic State terrorist group, and 32 percent do not, with majority support cutting across Democrats, Republicans and independents.

About two-thirds think U.S. troops on the ground are necessary to defeat the Islamic to some degree, with 26 percent who support sending a large number of U.S. ground troops and 40 percent who back a limited number.

Though Mr. Obama’s request to Congress prohibits “enduring offensive ground combat operations,” he left the door open for U.S. ground troops to be used for limited missions. The three-year authorization also does not have geographic limitations.

About two-thirds of Americans are also optimistic that the U.S. and its allies will be able to defeat IS. Forty-five percent have “a great deal” or “a good amount” of confidence in Mr. Obama’s strategy, while 48 percent have “not very much” confidence or “none at all.”

The survey of 603 adults was conducted Feb. 11-12 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.


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