Despite fresh memories of year after bloody year in Iraq and Afghanistan, 50% of Americans support sending U.S. ground troops into Iraq and Syria to fight the Islamic State as the terrorist group continues to attract recruits, hold vast territory and expand its atrocities.
Of the 898 adults whom the IBD/TIPP poll surveyed from Feb. 22 to March 1, 22% said that they strongly supported such an intervention.
Meanwhile, 47% of respondents oppose sending U.S. ground forces to fight.
Independents are nearly split, with 47% backing ground troops and 50% against. Democrats are opposed, 61%-35%. Republicans favor boots on the ground taking the offensive, 70%-27%.
But some 68% agreed that the U.S. and its allies are not winning the war against IS, with 39% strongly agreeing. The results were virtually the same in the IBD/TIPP Poll conducted a month ago.
The survey also found that 63% of the public believe President Obama "does not have a clear plan" to fight IS, though that's down from 68% a month ago.
America's Image Tarnished
The survey found that a gauge of confidence in America's standing in the world has dropped to 35.4 — a 14.5% decline in just a month. It was unusual for that measure to register below 40 during George W. Bush's presidency or even during Obama's first term, but it has been in the deeply negative area for almost all of the last two years.
The strong sentiment for putting American boots on the ground back in Iraq to fight alongside government and Kurdish forces is especially striking given that it was popular dissatisfaction with the U.S. troop presence and casualties that swept Democrats to power in Congress in the 2006 elections, then helped elect Obama two years later.
Current House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called the war "a grotesque mistake" before Democrats made bringing the troops home the centerpiece of their congressional campaign.
Many critics say that America's complete withdrawal from Iraq under Obama left a vacuum that IS eventually filled.
IS has spread its tentacles into post-Gadhafi Libya, with over a dozen fighters there, according to U.S. and European sources. The terror group committed a mass be heading of a large group of Coptic Christians on a Mediterranean beach in Libya, with a professionally produced video of the carnage sent out to the world. Last week, IS kidnapped 262 Assyrian Christians from the Syrian town of Hasaka and is threatening to do the same to them.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration refuses to bomb targets in Syria's ar-Raqqah province, the self-proclaimed caliphate's heartland. Iranian-born journalist Amir Taheri of the Gatestone Institute, writing in the New York Post, quotes an Iraqi officer who complains, "We are on the battlefield, and we call for American air support ... By the time the green light comes, we are left with an empty desert."
This week, the Iraqi military is undertaking a major offensive to retake the city of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown, which could determine the future of northwestern Iraq. If the assault fails, it could raise further doubts about Obama's strategy and boost support for U.S. ground troops to an outright majority.