Americans divided over decision to withdraw from Syria
In the wake of President Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States would withdraw troops from Syria, the public is divided over the issue, and about two-thirds say they do not think Trump has a clear plan for dealing with the situation in the war-torn country.
Overall, 43% of Americans say withdrawing American troops from Syria would be the right decision, while 45% say it would be the wrong decision. The new Pew Research Center survey of 1,505 U.S. adults was conducted Jan. 9-14 – before a Jan. 16 bombing in Syria in which 14 people were killed, including several American service members and civilians.
Nearly six-in-ten Republicans and GOP-leaning independents (58%) think it would be the right decision for the U.S. to leave Syria, while 30% say it would be the wrong decision. The balance of opinion among Democrats and Democratic leaners is roughly the reverse: Just 30% view withdrawal as the right decision, while 60% say it is the wrong decision.
There is an even wider partisan gap – 51 percentage points – in views of whether the president has a clear plan for handling the situation in Syria. Overall, 28% of Americans say Trump has a clear plan; a 56% majority of Republicans, but just 5% of Democrats, say this.
A third of Americans say they have heard a lot about the possible withdrawal of U.S. troops, while 46% say they have heard a little; 19% say they have heard nothing about this. Republicans and Democrats are about equally likely to have heard about plans for withdrawal.
Yet among partisans who have heard a lot about the issue, the partisan gap over the decision to withdraw is even wider than in the public overall. Roughly two-thirds of Republicans who have heard a lot about the withdrawal (66%) say this would be the right decision, compared with 27% who say it would not be. Among Democrats who have heard a lot about the plan to withdraw, nearly eight-in-ten (79%) view it as the wrong decision, while just 16% say it would be the right decision.