CNN poll: U.S. allies wary of bombing Syria
September 3, 2013 -- Updated 1942 GMT (0342 HKT)
U.S. President Obama is seeking support for a strike on Syrian government forces.
- The French are more likely to back missile strikes than Germans or British
- Even in France, only one in three supports strikes on Syria
- Half of British people support military intervention if the U.N. approved it or found chemical weapons use
- The agency ComRes polled 500 people online in each of the three countries
London (CNN) -- As the United States and its allies wrestle with how to respond to the possibility that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against its own people, a new poll for CNN finds Washington's European allies distinctly lukewarm on military intervention.
READ: CNN poll results (PDF file)
The French are more willing than the British or the Germans to launch missile strikes on Syria, but even there, only one in three people backs bombing. One out of five Germans is in favor of missile strikes, while the number is even lower in the United Kingdom, at 16%.
France's parliament is due to debate possible action on Syria on Wednesday. Last week, Britain's House of Commons rejected even the possibility of a military strike on Syria, in a vote that shocked Prime Minister David Cameron and raised questions about the so-called "special relationship" between Washington and London.
Boehner: I'm supporting Obama on Syria
Al-Assad: Middle East is 'powder keg'
Obama rallies lawmakers for Syria action
President Obama is lobbying members of Congress to back military action against Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad is accused of using chemical weapons on August 21. President Obama had said in the past that the use of chemical weapons would be a "red line."
The survey, conducted by the polling agency ComRes for CNN on August 30 -- after the British vote -- found economic sanctions to be the most popular course of action in all three countries polled.
More than half of Germans -- 55% -- backed tightening economic sanctions , while 46% of British people and 39% of French people did.
Poll respondents were allowed to choose more than one option from a list of "most appropriate responses," which included tightening sanctions, establishing a no-fly zone over Syria, striking Syria with missiles, invading with a ground force and doing nothing.
More than one in five Germans favored doing nothing (22%), as did more than one in four French people (27%) and nearly one in three British people (30%).
But about half of British people said it would be appropriate for their country to engage in military intervention if the United Nations found evidence Assad had used chemical weapons or if the U.N. explicitly sanctioned the use of force. Just under half of German people agreed, as did 35% of French respondents.
The poll did throw up some surprising paradoxes. Germans were the most likely of the three countries to say they should not engage in military intervention under any circumstances -- but also the most likely to say that military intervention could help stop Assad from using chemical weapons in the future and enable positive regime change.
The poll was conducted online on August 30, sampling 500 adults each in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Data were weighted to be demographically representative by age, gender and region of all UK, French and German adults aged 18 and up.
The margin of error is plus or minus 4.38 percentage points.
Syrian crisis: Latest developments
Part of complete coverage on
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 1448 GMT (2248 HKT)
As a 10-year-old, this boy first hit the headlines in 1982 when he saved his cat from a fire. This year, he was reported to be a suicide bomber.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1803 GMT (0203 HKT)
Aqsa Mahmood,19, would listen to Coldplay and read Harry Potter books. Then this Glasgow girl became an ISIS bride.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0823 GMT (1623 HKT)
The little boy looks barely old enough to walk, let alone understand the dark world he's now inhabiting.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0422 GMT (1222 HKT)
ISIS has released video of the aftermath of a mass execution. Another video shows alleged captured Peshmerga soldiers.
August 30, 2014 -- Updated 0933 GMT (1733 HKT)
The number of people who have fled Syria and registered as refugees amid the country's civil war will surpass 3 million Friday.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, grew up in the Minneapolis area, but died more than 6,000 miles away in Syria, fighting for ISIS.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 2054 GMT (0454 HKT)
If the United States is serious about thoroughly defeating ISIS, it must, somehow, go through Syria.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Jihadists have kidnapped over 140 Kurdish boys to "brainwash" them. But a few boys made a daring escape.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns is further evidence of the blurring of the two countries' borders.
June 24, 2014 -- Updated 2133 GMT (0533 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert speaks to a father whose teenage son joined the Jihad movement in Syria.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1141 GMT (1941 HKT)
At the start of Syria's civil unrest, Omar would rally against the government alongside his schoolmates, later taking to the streets in his hometown of Salqin.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 2117 GMT (0517 HKT)
Atika Shubert looks at the rise of European jihadists traveling to Syria and whether they soon could join ISIS in Iraq.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
The final stockpile of Syria's chemical weapons has been shipped out of the country, according to the OPCW, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 2025 GMT (0425 HKT)
The US isn't doing airstrikes in Iraq. Is there a vacuum for Syria and Iran to step in? CNN's Fareed Zakaria weighs in.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on Syrian rebels using underground explosions against the better-equipped regime.
June 9, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh returns to the besieged rebel areas of Aleppo, a pale skeleton of a city that has had the life bombed out of it.
June 2, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Syria may be embroiled in a brutal three-year civil war, but that's not stopping the government from holding presidential elections.
June 3, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh meets an ISIS defector in hiding and gets a rare look into the group's recruitment process.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 1610 GMT (0010 HKT)
Over a thousand Syrian refugees have turned an abandoned shopping mall in Lebanon into makeshift living quarters.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 2158 GMT (0558 HKT)
More than 100,000 people reportedly have been killed in Syria since a popular uprising in 2011 spiraled into a civil war.
Today's five most popular stories