An open poll conducted by a Vermont senator on his website has global warming tracking far above chemical weapons as a concern that voters think members of Congress should care most about.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) patterned his poll questions after a Pew Research Center survey: Would you favor or oppose the U.S. conducting military strikes against Syria in response to reports that the Syrian government used chemical weapons? Do you think U.S. military strikes in Syria would be likely to lead to a long-term U.S. military commitment there, or not? Do you think U.S. military strikes in Syria would likely be effective in discouraging the use of chemical weapons, or not?
And, which of the following three issues do you think are the most important for Congress to concentrate on right now?
The poll offered the choices of chemical weapons in Syria, jobs and unemployment, health care, education, immigration, global warming, NSA phone and Internet surveillance, gun policy, the federal budget deficit, or something else.
As of Friday morning a record number had responded for a Sanders poll — more than 18,000 people since Wednesday.
On the first question, opponents of strikes outnumbered proponents 10 to 1.
On the issues question, Sanders’ office said as of 10:30 a.m. that chemical weapons came in dead last.
The top issues picked were jobs, health care, and global warming, in that order. Education and NSA surveillance were the next most critical issues.
Sanders said this week that he’s still weighing “several concerns” about the use of force proposal coming to the Senate floor next week.
“I intend to keep an open mind with regard to the president’s proposal on Syria but at this point I have serious reservations,” he said. “These reservations are shared by many Vermonters who are calling my office – the overwhelming majority in opposition to our involvement in the Syrian civil war. I think we all understand that Assad is a ruthless dictator and that his use of chemical weapons is abhorrent and a violation of international law. Many Vermonters, however, worry that our involvement in a third Middle East war in 12 years may make a very bad situation even worse.”
Sanders voted against the war in Iraq, and said he’s “concerned that the United States would be going into a war almost unilaterally without the support of the United Nations or NATO.”
“If we are concerned about international stability, this sets a very dangerous precedent that other countries could use in the future,” he said.