Watch CBSN Live

Do Americans think U.S. ground troops are needed to fight ISIS?

By Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Anthony Salvanto and Fred Backus

Two months after U.S. airstrikes were launched against the Islamic State in Iraq, most Americans are still unconvinced that President Obama has a clear plan for dealing with the militant group. Sixty-one percent don't think he has a clear plan. Just 29 percent think he does; that is down seven points from earlier this month.


Seventy-one percent of Americans support U.S. airstrikes against ISIS, but evaluations of how things are going for the U.S. in its fight against the militant group are negative. Fifty-seven percent think it is going somewhat or very badly. About a third say it is going well, including just three percent who say the fight is going very well.

Americans are now split on whether the U.S. should send ground troops into Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS. The percentage that favors ground troops (47 percent) has been inching up since September.

Most Republicans support using U.S. ground troops, while most Democrats, and half of independents, are opposed. Still, most Americans do think ground forces will ultimately be necessary to remove the threat from ISIS. Sixty-four percent say U.S. ground troops will be needed, while just one in five thinks airstrikes alone will work.


A vast majority of Americans--85 percent--express at least some concern that U.S. intervention in Iraq and Syria will lead to a long and costly involvement there, including 48 percent who are very concerned. Most Americans continue to view ISIS as a major threat to the security of the United States, with 58 percent saying it is a major threat, while another 21 percent say ISIS is a minor threat. Just 15 percent say ISIS is not a threat to the U.S. at all.


This poll was conducted by telephone October 23-27, 2014 among 1,269 adults nationwide. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by SSRS of Media, PA. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

View CBS News In