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Poll: Americans split on Syria plan; opposition to military strike rising

WASHINGTON – A new poll shows that some Americans met Russian President Vladamir Putin’s plan to control Syrian chemical weapons with some degree of optimism.

Gallup reported that 45% of Americans had at least some degree of optimism for Putin’s plan (for an international team to discover and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons), while 44% said they are pessimistic about the plan.

The poll results come from a Sept. 11-12, 2013, poll conducted after U.S. President Barack Obama’s Tuesday speech from the White House regarding Syria and after Putin’s proposal on Monday, Gallup reported. The plan, which would place Syria’s stockpiles of chemical weapons under international supervision en route to being destroyed, emerged after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry commented that Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, could avoid U.S. airstrikes by agreeing to give up his chemical weapons.

At the same time, opposition from Americans to a military strike is rising.

“Americans’ opposition to a military strike against Syria has risen quickly,” Gallup said.  “Sixty-two percent of Americans oppose the U.S. taking military action against Syria in order to reduce Syria’s ability to use chemical weapons, up from 51% last week. Support for military action has fallen from 36% to 28% in the past week.”

President Obama is still seeking Congressional approval for a military strike on the Middle Eastern nation.  The U.S. military has said it is ready to act.

“It is noteworthy, though, that Americans’ optimism about the success of the Russian plan is significantly higher than their support for U.S. military intervention in Syria,” Gallup said.

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