Washington (CNN) – Seven in ten Americans support military action by the U.S. and other countries to establish a no-fly zone in Libya, a 14-point increase since last week, according to a new national poll.
But a CNN/Opinon Research Corporation survey also indicates there is less among the public for air strikes that directly target Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's troops who are fighting opposition forces, and only one in four want to send ground forces into the conflict.
The poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, both before and after military action against Libya began on Saturday. But there is no indication in the data that opinions on Libya changed on Saturday or Sunday as a result of the air strikes.
According to the survey, 70 percent support the establishment of a no-fly zone by the U.S. and other countries, up from 56 percent a week ago. Twenty-seven percent oppose the move, down 13 points.
The poll indicates support drops to 54 percent for air strikes not directly related to the no-fly zone that instead target the troops fighting the rebels, with 43 percent opposed to that action.
And most Americans are on the same page as President Barack Obama in opposing putting U.S. ground forces into the conflict. Seven out of ten questioned oppose such a move, with just 28 percent in favor.
The survey indicates a bit of a partisan divide and gender gap over a no-fly zone and attacks on Gadhafi's forces.
"Republicans are somewhat more likely to support the no-fly zone than Independents and Democrats and are significantly more likely to support air strikes unrelated to the no-fly zone," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Men are also more willing to support military action than women - a common pattern in American public opinion."
As for Gadhafi, the number who think it is very important to remove the longtime Libyan leader from power has also increased, from 24 percent last
week to 34 percent now.
"But that's far less than the number who thought it was very important to oust Saddam Hussein from power in the run-up to the Iraq war in 2002. It's also less than the 44 percent who say that it is very important for the U.S. to protect Libyan civilians from Gadhafi's forces, indicating that public support for military action in Libya has more to do with humanitarian concerns than a desire for regime change," adds Holland.
Seven in ten Americans are confident that the U.S. will be successful in protecting civilians from Gadhafi's forces and three-quarters think that Gadhafi will be removed from power. But only 55 percent think the U.S. will be able to accomplish its goals without sending in ground troops.
Half of those questioned approve of how the president is handling the situation in Libya, with 41 percent saying they disapprove, and a relatively high nine percent undecided. Only 27 percent of Republicans approve of how Obama is handling Libya despite the fact that they are more likely than Democrats and Independents to support the military strikes that began on Saturday.
"One reason: only three in ten Republican say they trust Obama as commander in chief, compared to 82 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independents," says Holland.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey was conducted by telephone, with 1,012 people questioned. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
-CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story