ComRes conducted the poll of 500 UK adults aged 18+, 500 French adults aged 18+ and 500 German adults aged 18+ online on 30th August 2013. Data were weighted to be demographically representative by age, gender and region of all UK, French and German adults aged 18+. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
Date Published: 03 Sep 2013
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CNN poll: U.S. allies wary of bombing Syria
French more likely to back missile strikes than Germans or British
Even in France, only one in three supports strikes on Syria
Half British people support intervention if U.N. approved it or chemical weapons use found
A new poll conducted for CNN has revealed a lack of enthusiasm among Washington’s potential allies for military intervention in Syria.
The poll, conducted by ComRes in France, Germany and the UK comes as the United States and its allies wrestle with how to respond to the possibility that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against its own people.
The French are more willing than the British or the Germans to launch missile strikes on Syria, but even there, only one in three people backs bombing. One out of five Germans is in favour of missile strikes, while the number is even lower in the United Kingdom, at 16%.
France's parliament is due to debate possible action on Syria today. Last week, Britain's House of Commons rejected the possibility of a military strike on Syria.
The survey, conducted by the polling agency ComRes for CNN on August 30, after the British vote, found economic sanctions to be the most popular course of action in all three countries polled.
More than half of Germans – 55% –backed the tightening economic sanctions, while 46% of British people and 39% of French people did.
Poll respondents were allowed to choose more than one option from a list of "most appropriate responses," which included tightening sanctions, establishing a no-fly zone over Syria, striking Syria with missiles, invading with a ground force and doing nothing.
More than one in five Germans favoured doing nothing (22%), as did more than one in four French people (27%) and nearly one in three British people (30%).
But about half of British people said it would be appropriate for their country to engage in military intervention if the United Nations found evidence Assad had used chemical weapons or if the U.N. explicitly sanctioned the use of force. Just under half of German people agreed, as did a little more than a third of French respondents.
The poll did throw up some paradoxes. Germans were the most likely of the three countries to say they should not engage in military intervention under any circumstances, but also the most likely to say that military intervention could help stop Assad from using chemical weapons in the future and enable positive regime change.
President Obama is lobbying members of Congress to back military action against Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad is accused of using chemical weapons on August 21. President Obama had said in the past that the use of chemical weapons would be a "red line."