Poll: Americans losing confidence air strikes alone will defeat ISIS

Americans' confidence that air strikes will wipe out ISIS' military capability has dropped in recent weeks, a new CNN/ORC International poll shows.

Story highlights

  • 76% of Americans support U.S. airstrikes on ISIS, a CNN/ORC International poll shows
  • But just 54% say they're confident the strikes will destroy ISIS' military capability
  • That figure has dropped 7 percentage points since September
Americans still strongly support airstrikes against ISIS -- but they're losing confidence that the strikes will wipe out the group's military capability, a new poll shows.
The air strikes already ordered by President Barack Obama are supported by 76% of the public, a CNN/ORC International survey of 1,018 adults, conducted Oct. 24-26, found.
However, only 48% of those polled say the U.S. effort is going well -- while 54% say they're confident the strikes will degrade and destroy the military capability of ISIS. That figure is down from 61% last month.
As the public loses confidence in air strikes' effectiveness, Americans are increasingly supportive of sending U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The poll found 45% support for such a move -- up from 38% in September. A majority still oppose it however.
And if ISIS were to attack the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, that number would shift much more dramatically, with 72% saying they'd then support sending ground troops to the region.
"Support for sending U.S. ground troops into combat operations against ISIS forces is growing, although a majority continues to oppose 'boots on the ground' in Iraq or Syria," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But that could change in a hurry if the situation worsens in Iraq."
The poll also found a war-weary public with little faith in Obama, high confidence that a terrorist attack on U.S. soil will happen again soon and expectations that fighting ISIS will be a drawn-out engagement.
Those surveyed said they aren't expecting to see ISIS quickly defeated. More than four in five said U.S. military action against the group will be long and difficult.
Only 32% said they believe Obama has a clear plan for dealing with ISIS. Meanwhile, 59% said further acts of terrorism in the United States are likely over the next several weeks.
That number is up from 55% in a September poll -- a small enough increase, Holland said, that it can't be attributed to a changed public mood after last week's attacks on the Canadian government.