James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

Lindsay analyzes the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power.

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Showing posts for "Public Opinion"

Will President Obama’s New ISIS Strategy Reassure a Concerned Public?

by James M. Lindsay
Obama Air Strikes ISIS President Obama delivers an address to the nation on his plans for military action against ISIS. (Saul Loeb/Courtesy Reuters)

Anyone who tuned into President Obama’s address to the nation last night expecting to hear a detailed plan to defeat ISIS came away disappointed. The president spoke mostly in generalities and skirted tough questions. But laying out a detailed plan that would pass muster with experts wasn’t his primary purpose. Reassuring a public worried about the ISIS threat, and his response to it, was. Read more »

Americans Support Air Strikes But Remain Leery About an Activist Foreign Policy

by James M. Lindsay
Iraq Airstrikes Public Opinion A U.S. F/A-18F Super Hornet refuels mid-air after launching from the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier in the Arabian Gulf on August 10. (U.S. Navy Handout/Courtesy Reuters)

The Wall Street Journal and NBC News are out with a new poll this morning on American public attitudes on using military force against ISIS. Like the Washington Post/ABC News poll released yesterday, it finds strong public support for air strikes and skepticism of President Obama’s handling of foreign policy. Beyond that, however, Americans remain cool toward a deeper military commitment in the Middle East and toward an activist U.S. foreign policy more broadly. Read more »

American Public Support for Air Strikes Against ISIS Grows

by James M. Lindsay
Obama Air Strikes Iraq President Obama speaks on the air strikes in Iraq from the South Lawn of the White House on August 9. (Yuri Gripas/Courtesy Reuters)

With President Obama set to address to the nation tomorrow night on his strategy for dealing with the Islamic State, the Washington Post and ABC News released a poll this morning showing substantial (and growing) public support for his policy of air strikes against the Islamic State. Ironically, however, that support isn’t translating into approval for how Obama has handled the ISIS threat. Read more »

Are Americans Embracing Isolationism? Not When It Comes to Air Strikes on ISIS

by James M. Lindsay
Iraq Air Strike Public Opinion An F/A-18C Hornet approaches the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier in the Arabian Gulf on August 12. (Hamad I Mohammed/Courtesy Reuters)

Do Americans Like President Obama’s Handling of Foreign Policy?

by James M. Lindsay
President Barack Obama speaks at a Democratic Party fundraiser in San Francisco. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters) President Barack Obama speaks at a Democratic Party fundraiser in San Francisco. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters)

The Pew Research-CFR poll released yesterday found that the American public’s skepticism about foreign policy activism has hit record levels. That skepticism is good news for President Obama given his reluctance to put U.S. prestige and resources on the line in messy disputes like Syria. The public isn’t itching to intervene overseas, and neither is the president. Read more »

Is America’s Global Influence in Decline?

by James M. Lindsay

Earlier this week, I did an interview for the show Digital Age with host Jim Zirin. The topic was “Is America’s global influence in decline?” I don’t know that I actually answered Jim’s question, but over the course of our conversation we discussed the partial government slowdown, the Snowden affair, the possible balkanization of the Internet, President Obama’s sagging approval ratings, Congress’s reluctance to endorse military action against Syria, the limits of military force, Iran’s nuclear intentions, and Egypt’s future, among other topics. Read more »

Americans Like Putin’s Plan, Not Putin

by James M. Lindsay
Russian president Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on arms and military equipment (Michael Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Courtesy Reuters). Russian president Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on arms and military equipment (Michael Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Courtesy Reuters).

Gallup is out with one of the more interesting polls I have seen recently. The poll asked Americans whether or not they approved of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s plan to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. By a four-to-one margin (72 to 18 percent), they give it a thumbs-up. Read more »

Should the United States Mind Its Own Business Internationally?

by James M. Lindsay
Syrian-American demonstrators protest in front of the White House (Jim Bourg/Courtesy Reuters). Syrian-American demonstrators protest in front of the White House (Jim Bourg/Courtesy Reuters).

Separate polls out today by the New York Times/CBS News and the Wall Street Journal/NBC News show considerable public opposition to President Obama’s call for military strikes against Syria.  Both polls show something else as well: Americans doubt the wisdom of U.S. activism overseas more broadly. Read more »

Can President Obama Persuade Americans to Support His Syria Policy?

by James M. Lindsay
President Barack Obama during the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters). President Barack Obama during the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters).

President Obama hopes to use his nationwide address tonight to persuade Americans of the necessity to punish Syria for using chemical weapons. But two polls out this morning suggest that it is a daunting task, and not one he is likely to accomplish. Read more »