As President Trump reduces the number of U.S. troops in Syria and claims the defeat of ISIS, most voters are uncertain about the stability of the situation there.
A new Fox News Poll finds widespread agreement among voters that ISIS has not been defeated in Syria (73 percent). Nearly the same number want U.S. forces to remain there (69 percent).
In addition, twice as many voters think the decision to withdraw U.S. forces weakens (40 percent) rather than strengthens (19 percent) the United States.
That’s how the president ends up underwater by 19 points on his handling of Syria: 36 percent approve and 55 percent disapprove.
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Trump said October 6 that U.S. military forces would withdraw from northern Syria. More recently, he said an unidentified “small” number will stay to “secure the oil.”
Reducing the U.S. presence in Syria raises concerns with voters: 66 percent are worried it might lead to a reemergence of ISIS in the region, and 61 percent are concerned it amounts to the U.S. abandoning Kurdish allies to Turkish aggression.
On the other hand, 52 percent are concerned keeping American military in Syria would leave them in harm’s way without making the U.S. safer.
Fifty-five percent think U.S. national security interests are at stake in Syria, 25 percent disagree, and 20 percent are unsure.
Meanwhile, voters are twice as likely to say the situation with Syria has worsened (50 percent) their opinion of Trump’s presidency rather than improved it (25 percent).
Seventy-three percent of Republicans approve of the job Trump’s doing on Syria, markedly lower than his ratings on the economy (89 percent) and immigration (83 percent).
Sixty-six percent of Republicans think the U.S. should keep troops in Syria and 56 percent say ISIS is not defeated — down from 67 percent in January.
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Among Democrats, 73 percent want the U.S. to stay in Syria, 85 percent think ISIS remains, and 87 percent disapprove of Trump on Syria.
Interviews for the poll were conducted Sunday through Wednesday (October 27-30).
Trump announced October 27 that U.S.-led forces had killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi in northern Syria. That successful mission failed to give the president’s job approval a bump: 42 percent approve and 57 percent disapprove. In early October, it was 43-55 percent.
In 2011, approval of former President Barack Obama’s job performance went from 47 percent in April to 55 percent in May, after the raid that killed the much better known Usama bin Laden, and back to 48 percent in June.
Conducted October 27-30, 2019 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with 1,040 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide who spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points for all registered voters.