Most say Syria won’t impact their vote

September 12, 2013

Polls show a growing majority of the American people oppose U.S. military intervention in Syria.

But another new poll suggests members of Congress who support military action may not pay much of a price at the ballot box.

The National Journal poll shows 55 percent of people say a members' position on Syria won't have much impact on their vote. Among those who say it is a factor, twice as many say a 'yes' vote would make them less likely to support their member (26 percent) as say it would make them more likely (13 percent).

The issue is slightly more important among Republicans, 35 percent of whom say they would be less likely to back a supporter of military action.

GOP members of Congress have overwhelmingly turned against the idea of military force -- first in the House and increasingly in the Senate as well.

The Fix's latest whip count shows 261 out of 433 members of the House are opposed or leaning against military action. In the Senate, 43 oppose it or lean 'no' and 23 favor it.

While the poll suggests voters aren't voting on Syria right now, it's important to note that much of how the votes are perceived has to do with how the situation evolves.

The war in Iraq, for instance, was popular when Congress authorized the use of force, but as the situation deteriorated, those 'yes' votes became unpopular.

Members who would vote for the use of force in Syria are essentially tying themselves to whatever happens in that country -- be it failure or success.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · September 12, 2013