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Americans may be moving beyond their war weariness.

A series of new polls shows that public opinion is shifting about military operations in Iraq and an aversion to putting boots on the ground is fading.

"It is safe to say that Americans are more supportive of sending U.S. forces into Iraq than they were a year ago," said Fran Coombs, the managing editor at Rasmussen Reports, a nonpartisan firm that conducts public opinion polling.

According to a Rasmussen poll in early February, 52 percent of Americans believe the U.S. should send "send combat troops back to Iraq as part of an international coalition to fight ISIS." That's up from 48 percent in October. Meanwhile, the percentage of those opposed fell 8 points, to 28 percent from 36 percent in October.

And a Quinnipiac University poll conducted Feb. 26-March 2 found that 62 percent of Americans support sending U.S. combat troops to fight the militants, while just 30 percent oppose such a move.

The polls suggest that the rise of the group known as the Islamic State has focused public attention, fueled anxiety about international terrorism and begun to erode some of the broad opposition to sending troops into new conflicts.

Some polls, however, shows the limits to U.S. support for aggressive military action.

An NBC News/Marist Poll conducted in early February found that a strong majority of Americans, 66 percent, believe that some ground troops are needed to combat the Islamic State militants.

Yet only 26 percent of those people believe the U.S. should send a "large number of ground forces," while the remaining 40 percent of those people support a "limited number" of U.S. ground forces.

Those opposed to all ground forces in Iraq accounted for 26 percent of respondents in the NBC News/Marist Poll.

The uptick in support for troops in Iraq comes amid a wave of broader pessimism. The percent of people who believe that the "U.S. and allies" are "winning the war on terror" has plummeted to an all-time low of 19 percent, down from about 50 percent in 2012, according to the Rasmussen polls.

Public support is tipping in favor of a debate on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are considering a bill expanding President Obama's authority to use military force against the Islamic State militants.

A 54 percent majority of Americans want their member of Congress to vote for a measure, while only 32 percent are opposed, according to the NBC News/Marist poll.

The shift toward support for boots on the ground in Iraq was also captured by Pew Research Center polls. In October, about 39 percent of respondents were in favor of "sending ground troops" to Iraq, a number that rose to 47 percent in late February when a Pew poll asked the same question.

Coombs cautioned that public support for military operations is often conditioned on a belief in international support and allies who share burden.

"The 'as part of a coalition' part is critical," Coombs said.

"I think if President Obama came out and said the U.S. is going to send in troops to Iraq unilaterally, people would go crazy. There would not be strong support for that."


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