Support rising for use of ground troops

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Support for using ground troops in the battle against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is on the rise, according to a new survey.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday found that 62 percent of voters in the United States would support using combat troops in Iraq and Syria. Only 30 percent would oppose it, and overall support for deploying troops against ISIS was strong regardless of party, gender or age.

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Seventy-three percent of Republicans surveyed would approve the use of ground troops, as would 53 percent of Democrats. The poll also found strong support for ground troops among independents, with 60 percent saying they would back their deployment in the fight against ISIS.

The Quinnipiac poll shows a significant uptick in support for a combat mission. In late February, a Pew poll found that 47 percent would back boots on the ground. A separate CNN/ORC poll from the same month also concluded 47 percent supported the same outcome.

The poll’s findings come as Congress debates whether to authorize a request President Obama made on Feb. 11 for war powers against ISIS. His proposed authorization for use of military force (AUMF) would prohibit the use of “enduring offensive ground combat operations,” language aimed at soothing Democratic fears about a prolonged war in the Middle East.

Obama’s AUMF request has received a mixed reaction from Congress. Democrats say the restriction on ground troops should be tighter, while Republicans worry the plan is far too restrictive on the military.

The president’s AUMF draft is the first time lawmakers have been asked to approve a new resolution of force since the controversial 2002 Iraq War vote.

Quinnipiac’s latest poll found that 64 percent surveyed hoped Congress would approve Obama’s request.

The poll questioned 1,286 self-identified registered voters between Feb. 26 and March 2. It had a 2.7 percentage point margin of error.