H-CENTRAL COAST

Sep 11, 2013 1:37 AM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Local politcal analyst: American's opinion will affect Congress' decision

Following President Obama's speech on Tuesday night, Cal Poly Political Science professor Mike Latner helped KSBY break down what the potential military strikes on Syria would mean for the average American.

Latner, who called Tuesday night's speech by President Obama, a rare historic moment, said, "If public opinion numbers don't move, Congress is not gonna budge, and that, he's gotta move congress by moving the people. And, that's a challenge, thats hard to do."

Latner said he looks forward to starting the new year off at Cal Poly with some major current event topics.

"The president has got to make the case that it's in every American's interest, not just to stick up and defend American values, but that there are going to be bigger long term outcomes, better outcomes in terms of the civil war in Syria, better and improved relations between Russia and the United States," said Latner.

In his speech, Obama addressed the videos that have surfaced showing children lying in rows, killed by poisonous gas, and others foaming at the mouth. Latner said it is those words and memories that are going to get Americans to react.

He said, "This is not the first time the regime has used chemical weapons. They've used them at least 12 or 13 times that we know, or that we think, prior to this, and there's really no reason to believe that it's in Assad's interest to give up his chemical weapons."

Latner said now it comes down to Congress, and the opinion of Americans, to decide if there should be support for military action or not.

"The American public's going to digest and interpret what the President said, and start making their own decisions and then whether or not that actually affects people's support for intervention, will be reflected in the polls that come out in the following days," said Latner.

According to a poll released by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, before the President's speech, it showed that 58% of Americans who voted said Congress should vote against authorizing force, while 33% are in favor.

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