11 Things Americans Like More Than The Idea Of Intervening In Syria

Americans are more supportive of polygamy, guns, and Lindsay Lohan than they are of taking action against the government suspected of engaging in chemical warfare.

Stringer / Reuters

U.N. chemical weapons inspectors at a hospital near Damascus on Monday.

On Tuesday, the White House reiterated that there is “very little doubt” the Syrian government broke international arms control agreements and used chemical weapons against rebel forces last week.

“It is not around the question of whether the Syrian regime is responsible,” Press Secretary Jay Carney said. “It is around the question of what is the appropriate response to this clear violation of international norms.”

President Obama is weighing intervention, and the military is “ready to go.” In an Aug. 13 poll by Reuters/Ipsos, more than 30% of Americans said they supported intervention if it was proven Syria used chemical weapons. But on Saturday — two weeks after the original poll and three days after the weapons were apparently used — the same pollers found that only 9% of Americans think Obama should act.

As Salon points out, comparing this astonishingly low level of support to other unpopular ideas or events in history isn’t exactly sound. But it’s worth putting the number in context.

At this moment, U.S. intervention in Syria is less popular than …

1. Congress in August 2012.

Mark Wilson / Getty

Just 10% of Americans approved of Congress’ performance that month.

2. Lindsay Lohan in 2007.

Getty Images

In the year of her two DUI charges, LiLo had 14% of Americans feel “somewhat sympathetic” and 3% feel “very sympathetic” toward her.

3. Polygamy.


11% find polygamy morally acceptable, according to a 2011 Gallup poll.

4. Communism.

Feng Li / Getty Images

A Rasmussen Report found that 11% of Americans believed communism was a better alternative to our system of politics and economics in 2011.

5. Gun laws right after the Sandy Hook school shooting.

Danny Johnston / AP

According to a January 2013 Gallup poll, 12% are “very satisfied” and 31% are “somewhat satisfied” with current gun policies.

6. North Korea.

Kcna / Reuters

A March 2013 Gallup poll found that 12% of Americans view North Korea favorably.

7. Abortion.

Rogelio V. Solis / AP

In an Aug. 15 Pew study, 15% of respondents said they think having an abortion is morally acceptable.

8. Richard Nixon right before his resignation.


He had a 22% Gallup approval rating in August 1974.

9. The Vietnam War.

Molly Riley / AP

In November 2000, 24% of Americans said the Vietnam War was not a mistake.

10. The TSA.

Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

In August 2012, 54% said they thought the Transportation Security Administration was doing either an “excellent” or “good” job.

11. Television news and newspapers.

CHIP EAST / Reuters

In June, only 23% said they were confident in TV and newspaper reporters.

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Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Jessica Testa at jessica.testa@buzzfeed.com.
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