Poll: Most back ground troops in ISIS fight

Two-thirds of Americans want the U.S. to put some boots on the ground to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and a majority wants Congress to authorize President Obama’s plan for military action, according to a new NBC News/Maris poll released Friday.

A majority of Americans polled, 54 percent, said their member of Congress should vote to authorize U.S. military action against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), while 32 percent are opposed to it.

Positions on ground troops break down to 40 percent who support a “limited number” of troops on the ground, mostly in line with the president’s authorization. Twenty-six percent want the military to deploy a “large number of U.S. ground forces.”

The authorization request, released Tuesday, allows the president to fight ISIS for three years without geographic limitation but prohibits “enduring offensive ground combat operations.” Congressional resistance to the plan continues to grow on both sides of the aisle and many lawmakers have said they are unsure it will pass as is.   

There’s a stark partisan split over the ground troop debate. Thirty-eight percent of Republicans support deploying a “large amount” of boots on the ground, while just 16 percent of Democrats back that strategy. That largely mirrors the debate in Congress: Republicans have panned the strategy for being too restrictive, while Democrats are worried the vague language could give the president too much power.

The American public also shows a partisan split over their confidence in Obama’s plan. In general, the public is about equally split — 48 percent of those polled don’t have much faith in the plan, while 45 percent do. But underneath the surface, that equilibrium comes from 82 percent of Republicans having minimal faith in Obama’s plan, compared to 71 percent of Democrats who trust the president.

— Jesse Byrnes contributed

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