The AP poll found that 54 percent of people do not approve the way Obama has handled the U.S. response to Syria. That marked an increase from 43 percent in June 2012.
Darrell West, vice president of governance studies at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, said Obama is likely to play on Americans' emotions to convince them to support strikes.
"It is very difficult for a president to persuade people when they've already made up their mind against some type of foreign intervention," West said Monday. "But what he can do is basically explain much better than he has done to date about what has been going on in Syria, the use of chemical weapons, the impact on young children and women there."
Released Monday, the AP poll was conducted Sept. 6-8 by GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,007 adults nationwide. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points; it is larger for subgroups.
Associated Press Writers Tracy Brown and Dennis Junius in Washington, Raquel Dillon in Glendale, Calif., Rik Stevens in Concord, N.H., and Tammy Webber in Chicago contributed to this report.
Follow Lara Jakes and Jennifer Agiesta on Twitter at https://twitter.com/larajakesAP and https://twitter.com/jennagiesta