Amid growing concerns about the White House routinely meddling in military tactics, a new IBD/TIPP Poll finds big majorities unconvinced that President Obama has a clear plan to fight the Islamic State or that the coalition is winning against the Mideast's frightening new extremist entity.
Sixty-eight percent of 856 adults surveyed from Jan. 25 to Feb. 5 answered in the negative when asked if President Obama has a "clear plan" to fight the threat posed by the Islamic State (IS). Only 21% thought he did, with 11% not sure.
Significantly, 48% of those identifying themselves as Democrats said that Obama does not have a clear plan vs. 40% who believe he does. Just 15% of independents saw a strategy vs. 71% who say he does not have one.
Meanwhile, 89% of Republicans said that the president has no clear plan vs. IS.
Winning? Two-Thirds Say No
Respondents had a similar lack of confidence about whether "the U.S and its allies are winning the war" vs. the Islamic State. Some 39% answered that they "disagree strongly," while another 28% said that they "disagree somewhat." Combined, 67% do not believe that the U.S. is winning against IS.
Just 28% say that the coalition is winning against the new terror state that has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria since the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, completed in late 2011. Just 7% say that they "agree strongly" that the anti-IS effort is winning.
Democrats were split down the middle, 46% believing the coalition is winning against IS and another 46% not convinced. Republicans and independents shared almost equal overwhelming doubt: 79% of GOP respondents and 77% of unaffiliated disagreeing that the U.S. is winning.
Fifty-eight percent of liberals believed the U.S. isn't winning, while 66% of moderates and 73% of conservatives agree.
The president will ask Congress for authorization to use force against IS by Wednesday, Reuters reports. Obama has been relying on President Bush's authorizations after 9/11.
The strong lack of public confidence in the president's foreign policy, shown in the IBD/TIPP Poll, comes as Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice announced that administration policy should be viewed as "strategic patience."
"Progress won't be quick or linear," Rice warned before a Brookings Institution audience, unveiling a new strategy document on fighting IS. "But we are committed to seizing the future that lies beyond the crisis of the day and pursuing a vision of the world as it can and should be."
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, the Washington Post's Bob Woodward charged that based on his discussions with White House and military officials, "There is no strategy. They have not sat down and said, 'This is where we want to go and this is how we want to do it.'"
Woodward added, "People in the White House are micromanaging the tactical situation on a daily and weekly basis."
More broadly, just 30% of Americans say that Obama administration policies have made the U.S. safer from terrorism vs. 40% who say they have made the country less safe. Some 27% say they've had little impact.
Democrats (50%-11%) are predictably supportive of the administration and Republicans critical (11%-66%). Independents lean toward the GOP, with 22% saying that Obama's policies have helped vs. 44% who say they have not.