News

Poll: Americans oppose paying ransom for hostages

Poll: Americans oppose paying ransom for hostages

JAMES FOLEY: The United States has begun a program of limited air strikes in Iraq in response to advances by the Islamic State. The group released the video titled "A Message to America" on Aug. 19 showing a black-clad fighter beheading Foley in retaliation for the strikes. Photo: Reuters

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Nearly two out of three Americans say governments should not pay ransom to terrorists in exchange for hostages, despite the posting of an Islamic State video last week depicting the beheading of a U.S. journalist, a Reuters-IPSOS Poll showed on Tuesday.

Sixty-two percent of adults surveyed said they agreed with U.S. and British policy of refusing to pay ransom, in response to a question about the killing of American journalist James Foley and the multimillion dollar ransom demanded by Islamic State militants for his release.

Just 21 percent of respondents said they disagreed with that policy in the online poll conducted from Aug. 12-25. A sample of 4,685 Americans aged 18 and over were interviewed in the survey.

In the same poll, most Americans felt the United States should intervene somehow in Iraq, although overwhelming numbers oppose any U.S. troops on the ground in support of the Baghdad government.

There was little disparity in the overall response among Democrats, Republicans and independents.

Just 29 percent of adults felt the country should not get involved, even by sending humanitarian aid or weapons.

Thirty-one percent said the United States should provide humanitarian aid to refugees from the conflict areas and 21 percent said Washington should launch air strikes to support Iraqi government forces.

But just 12 percent said Washington should fund and support a multi-national intervention, 11 percent said the United States should send Special Forces troops to support Baghdad, 10 percent said it should provide weapons to Iraqi troops and just 7 percent said U.S. troops should be sent.

The United States has begun a program of limited air strikes in Iraq in response to advances by the Islamic State. The group released the video titled “A Message to America” on Aug. 19 showing a black-clad fighter beheading Foley in retaliation for the strikes.

But only about a third of the poll respondents – 36 percent – said they thought President Barack Obama was setting appropriate conditions for U.S. involvement, when asked about the limited strikes and Washington’s assertion that it would not do more until Iraq’s current Shi’ite government undertook significant reforms.

The numbers were not significantly different for a sample including only veterans, active-duty troops and their families, except that 29 percent versus 18 percent backed air strikes to support Iraqi troops.

Fifteen percent also favored providing weapons to Iraqi government troops, compared with 9 percent of those who were not veterans, active-duty military or their families.

The precision of the Reuters/Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll had a credibility interval of plus or minus 1.6 percentage points for all adults.

(Editing by Diane Craft)

Recent Headlines

in Music

Ed Sheeran surprises newlyweds at wedding reception

Ed Sheeran performs at the 57th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, in Los Angeles.

Ed Sheeran surprised a pair of newlyweds at their wedding reception by singing Thinking Out Loud for their first dance.

in Music

Taylor Swift named among world’s greatest leaders in new Fortune poll

Singer Taylor Swift attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Special at Rockefeller Plaza on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, in New York.

Taylor Swift ranks two spots behind Pope Francis in a new Fortune.com poll of the World's Greatest Leaders.

in Entertainment

‘Downton Abbey’ to end after season six

This photo released by PBS and Carnival Film and Television Limited shows, from left, Lesley Nicol as Mrs. Patmore, and Sophie McShera as Daisy, in a scene from season four of the Masterpiece TV series, "Downton Abbey." As it returns for its much-awaited fourth season, it remains a series about elegance, tradition and gentility, and the pressures of preserving them. The show premieres Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 9 pm ET on PBS.

Producers confirm that the next season of "Downton Abbey" will be the last.

in Music

Chris Daughtry heading back to TV

Chris Daughtry arrives at the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles.

Former American Idol contestant Chris Daughtry is heading back to the small screen for the new TV series "Studio City."

in Music

Ed Sheeran splits from girlfriend

Ed Sheeran poses for photographers upon arrival at the Victoria's Secret fashion show in London, Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014.

Ed Sheeran is single again after splitting from girlfriend Athina Andrelos.