The People vs The Pundits

Here are some results from a new poll on Syria that should make some of the pontificators blush. Sargent:

An overwhelming 79 percent of Americans support the proposed deal for international control over Syria’s chemical weapons Obama has embraced. There’s continued public opposition to strikes, with only 30 percent in support. The public gives Obama’s overall handling of the situation low marks.

But close to 80 percent approval of the result! More to the point:

Sixty percent say he “sticks with his principles,” roughly unchanged since January 2012. A plurality thinks the initial threat of missile strikes helped the situation by pressuring Syria to give up its chemical weapons — meaning Americans accept Obama’s argument about the impact of the threat (even if they oppose action) and don’t see his change of course as somehow diminishing it. A plurality also says Obama made a good case in his speech the other night — despite widespread pundit derision.

They don’t like his handling of the crisis but see his threat to strike as central to getting the result they want. Not entirely coherent – but surely, in some ways, a sign that the public prefers substance over style. At some point, the commentariat might take note.