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CNN Poll: Should U.S. get directly involved in Syrian conflict?

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Washington (CNN) — Most Americans are concerned about the bloody civil war raging in Syria, but according to a new national survey a majority of the public opposes direct U.S. involvement in the fighting.

A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday indicates 34% say they’re very concerned about the situation in Syria, with 46% saying they’re somewhat concerned. Only 18% say they’re not worried about the conflict. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the 21 months of fighting between the forces of President Bashar al-Assad and rebels trying to overthrow his regime.

But by a 52%-43% margin, Americans oppose Washington and other countries using military airplanes and missiles to try and establish zones inside Syria where the opposition forces would be safe from attacks by the Syrian government. Fifty-five percent of the public opposes the U.S. and other countries sending weapons and other military supplies to the opposition forces.

And the poll indicates that by a more than two-to-one margin, Americans say no to the U.S. or other countries using ground troops to try and establish safe zones for the rebels.

When it comes to the suggestion of Washington using military airplanes or missiles in the conflict, there appears to be a partisan divide and a gender gap, with Democrats divided, Republicans slightly in favor and independents opposed, and with men divided and women opposed.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International December 17-18, with 620 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report