Wednesday evening President Obama will address the nation about how his administration plans to handle the growing terror army ISIS. But according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, he'll be doing it without the confidence of the American people, who feel more unsafe now than they have since before 9/11/2001. President Obama's approval rating among Americans on foreign policy now sits at just 32 percent, the lowest since he took office in 2009. Americans are also paying close attention to the news of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff being beheaded. President Obama didn't handle those murders in a presidential manner and Americans have taken notice.
Mr. Obama has presided over a significant decline in confidence in U.S. security: The poll found that 47% believe the country is less safe than it was before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks—up sharply from 28% just one year ago.
The survey was taken Sept. 3-7, just after the beheading by ISIS of a second U.S. journalist. While those surveyed weren't asked directly about that event, the poll found that 94% had heard news of the two murders, a higher level of public attention than given to any of 22 news events the Journal/NBC News survey has tested since 2009.
POTUS collapse on foreign policy has impacted perception of Dem Party on foreign policy. GOP leading on issue by largest margin in a decade— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) September 9, 2014
Pres. Obama job rating on foreign policy has plummeted to all time low of 32%. Raises stakes for his prime time address tmro night. #nbcwsj— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) September 9, 2014
Although Americans aren't confident in President Obama's handling of the current ISIS crisis, they overwhelmingly support taking out the terror army with airstrikes and believe American interests are at stake.
Most followed news story by the public in last five years were the two American beheadings by ISIS #nbcwsjpoll— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) September 9, 2014
Obama's biggest problem philosophically also shows in this poll as people start to change their minds about the United States taking a step back from leadership on a global scale, particularly when it comes to foreign policy.
The survey also found indications that more people were coming to believe the U.S. should play a more active role on the world stage, a shift from Journal/NBC surveys earlier this year that found war-weary Americans wanting to step back from foreign engagements.
The polling from NBC mirrors a Washington Post/ABC News poll released yesterday which showed just 43 percent of Americans see Obama as a strong leader and over half the country views him as a failure.
His overall foreign policy ratings are his lowest yet in a Post-ABC News poll. A majority says the president is too cautious when it comes to international problems and specifically in dealing with Islamic State militants. His handling of Russian aggression in Ukraine receives somewhat better marks, but more than 4 in 10 still say he is too cautious.
Today, 71 percent of all Americans say they support airstrikes in Iraq - up from 54 percent three weeks ago and from 45 percent in June. Among those who say Obama has been too cautious, 82 percent support the strikes; among those who think his handling of international affairs has been about right, 66 percent support them.
Nearly as many Americans - 65 percent - say they support the potentially more controversial action of launching airstrikes in Syria, which Obama has not done. That is more than double the level of support a year ago for launching airstrikes to punish the Syrian regime for using chemical weapons.
President Obama will speak Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET from the White House.