As Obama’s Approval Rating Nears Record Lows, More Americans Push for Action Against ISIL

AP

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Tuesday shows that more Americans than ever view the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as a serious threat.

In a shift from previous polls, Americans now widely support airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. The results come ahead of a speech scheduled for Wednesday, in which President Obama will outline his plan to confront the threat of ISIL.

The speech comes at a critical point in Obama's presidency, as his overall approval rating is approaching record lows, hitting 42 percent in September.

Just 43 percent of Americans say Obama is a strong leader, which is his lowest rating since he entered the White House.

Fewer still think the president is taking appropriate action against ISIL–four in 10 Americans say that the president is "too cautious" when it comes to international problems, specifically Islamic State militants. His approval rating on how he has handled Russian aggression in Ukraine, at 43 percent, barely earned higher marks. Through the summer months, his approval rating on foreign policy has hovered in the 40s.

Among those that said Obama has been "too cautious," 82 percent support airstrikes. Among those that said his handling of international affairs has been about right, 66 percent support them. In the Monday poll, 71 percent of all Americans said they support launching airstrikes in Syria, which Obama has not yet done. Support for arming Kurdish anti-terrorism forces is also on the rise.

His standing is critical for Democrats running in November Senate races, especially as he pushes action on immigration reform aside.