This doesn't surprise me:
Americans strongly oppose U.S. intervention in Syria's civil war and believe Washington should stay out of the conflict even if reports that Syria's government used deadly chemicals to attack civilians are confirmed, a Reuters/Ipsos poll says.Republicans are much better at generating support for their wars, because they present them as titanic struggles against pure evil -- evil that encompasses not only the actual enemy but the weak-kneed quislings in the other party who oppose the use of force. So Republicans wars are always popular, at least at first -- Grenada was a hit for Reagan (though not as big a hit as some subsequent wars, because Reagan didn't have a chance to pound the war drums for months before invading). The Panama invasion was massively popular for Poppy Bush, and the Iraq wars, of course, caused both Bushes' poll ratings to skyrocket, at least for a while. Ditto for Bush the Younger and Afghanistan.
About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria's civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act....
The Reuters/Ipsos poll, taken August 19-23, found that 25 percent of Americans would support U.S. intervention if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces used chemicals to attack civilians, while 46 percent would oppose it. That represented a decline in backing for U.S. action since August 13, when Reuters/Ipsos tracking polls found that 30.2 percent of Americans supported intervention in Syria if chemicals had been used, while 41.6 percent did not....
Intervention in the Balkans was actually fairly popular in 1999 for Bill Clinton (52%-36% approval, according to a New York Times/CBS poll). It might have been more popular if Clinton had pushed the "worse than Hitler" message as relentlessly as every Republican president since 1980 has, or could have played the "evildoer menace may reach our shores any day now" card, as the Republicans have also done. However, Clinton did have plenty of Republican opposition to deal with -- go here to read what the sandal-wearing hippies of the Republican Party were saying back then about how war isn't good for children and other living things.
Obama's decision to intervene in Libya? Not popular. And that's no surprise -- Obama didn't rhetorically attempt to turn anyone into Hitler, and opposition-party opinion was a muddle. (At least one individual opposition-party member, Newt Gingrich, couldn't decide whether he was pro- or anti-intervention, but he was sure of one thing: Obama sucks.)
And now we have Syria. Some Republicans and some Democrats want in; some Republicans and some Democrats want to stay out. Assad looks like a bad guy, but there's no focused worse-than-Hitler propaganda campaign against him, and no propaganda campaign to highlight one particular plucky band of opposition forces. (Remember the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan? Whatever happened to those guys?)
So anything the Obama administration does is bound to be unpopular. Pro-war propaganda just isn't Democrats' long suit.