On Tuesday night President Obama will deliver one of the most important political addresses of his presidency, trying to convince a war-weary American public to support his call for military intervention in Syria. Having casually drawn a red line in the sand on the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, Obama’s own credibility – not that of the United States – is on the line. But he faces an uphill struggle to win over public opinion, and is almost certainly heading for a heavy defeat on Capitol Hill, where opposition is mounting among Members of Congress.
The scale of the challenge for Mr. Obama is encapsulated in a new poll released by Fox News (conducted by both Democratic and Republican pollsters), which shows the president’s approval rating falling to 40 percent, the lowest level of support in his presidency (on par with December 2010). Obama’s disapproval stands at 54 percent, the highest negative rating he has received since taking office.