Polls: Americans approve of military action in Libya
Libyans gather around the wreckage of a US F-15 fighter jet in Ghot Sultan, South-East of Benghazi
March 23rd, 2011
11:34 AM ET
4 years ago

Polls: Americans approve of military action in Libya

Washington (CNN) - A new Gallup poll indicates that a plurality of Americans approve of military action against Libya. Forty-seven percent say that they approve of the current U.S. military actions in Libya, with 37 percent saying they disapprove, according to the survey, which was released Wednesday.

The poll questioned respondents after the U.S. joined other countries in enforcing a United Nations-approved no-fly zone over Libya, where longtime strongman Moammar Gadhafi is engaged in attacks against groups trying to topple his government.

And on the issue of Libya, the poll reflects that Democrats and Republicans agree; slim majorities of each political party approve of U.S. military action against Libya. Slightly over half of Democrats-51 percent– approve of action in Libya and 57 percent of Republicans feel the same. Most independents do not look favorably upon military action against Libya since 38 percent approve and 44 percent disapprove, the poll finds.

But a two polls reflect different results than the Gallup survey shows. A CNN/Opinion Research poll released Monday reveals that a larger majority of Americans, 7 in 10, favor establishing a no-fly zone in Libya that is enforced by military planes from the U.S. and other countries. The poll was conducted March 18-20 during the same timeframe that military action began. About half the respondents were questioned before military action began in Libya and there's no indication that opinions changed as a result of air strikes that occurred in Libya during that weekend. By the same percentage, 70 percent of Americans also disapprove of sending ground troops from the U.S. to the conflict and 28 percent of those asked approve.

The poll also indicates that more Republicans than Democrats support for a no-fly zone over Libya 77 to 64 percent, but 7 in 10 independents who were surveyed support this military action, by a larger percentage than Democrats.

CBS News released findings similar to the poll released by CNN/Opinion Research. Respondents questioned after air and cruise missile strikes began in Libya said they approved of military action by 68 percent. Over a quarter disapproved of air strikes in Libya by the U.S. and other countries.

Three quarters of Americans said the air strikes would be effective in protecting Libyan civilians, with 20 percent of those saying they'd be very effective and 54 percent showing more caution and saying air strikes will be somewhat effective. Eighteen percent say they will either not be very effective, or not be effective at all.

CBS News released findings similar to the poll released by CNN/Opinion Research. Respondents questioned after air and cruise missile strikes began in Libya said they approved of military action by 68 percent. Over a quarter disapproved of air strikes in Libya by the U.S. and other countries.

Three quarters of Americans said the air strikes would be effective in protecting Libyan civilians, with 20 percent of those saying they'd be very effective and 54 percent showing more caution and saying air strikes will be somewhat effective. Eighteen percent say they will either not be very effective, or not be effective at all.

The Gallup poll was conducted among 1,010 adults via telephone on March 21. It has a sampling error of plus-or-minus four percentage points.

The CNN/Opinion Research poll questioned 1,012 adults from March 18-20 via telephone. It has a sampling error of plus-or-minus three percentage points.

The CBS News poll was conducted among 1,022 adults via telephone from March 20-21. It has a sampling error of plus-or-minus three percentage points.


Filed under: CNN poll • Libya • Poll
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Monster Zero

    Sorry
    Sniffit, they are not the same as at least Bush received approval of Congress for both Iraq and Afghanistan prior to any military action, you know in accordance to our Constitution. This is in no way similar, this is sheer stupidity, oust Gadaffi and install the Muslim brotherhood, wow what a choice? A dictator or a group of anti-American Islamic fundamentalists, hmmmm, who do you wish to be there or here for that matter?

    March 23, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  2. peace

    Ithink the prez obama is doing a good job in libya. I"m glad he did"t tell the congress what they was doing. because old mcnasty would warn the mad man about the plan. keep up the good work prez.

    March 23, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  3. The reality is...

    I wonder how many will still approve when they find out who the greatest force is behind the rebellion.

    March 23, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. New Age Independant

    The only thing this poll seems to indicate is how Democrats will support military action as long as a Democrat President ordered the attack. It's amazing how quickly they put aside their core beliefs when it suits the liberal agenda or in support of a Democrat President. Republicans were on board with the idea of a No Fly zone before Obama committed to it. Their issue was with the lack of any reaction, to the situation. Yet ultra libs (Ex: Wire Palladin, S. F., Obama Mama and Sniffit) seem to be ok with that. This is especially true when libs say that Obama has "built a coalition" as opposed to when Bush "built a coalition". It seems like little difference to me. I've also wondered about the level of US military involvement, which Obama indicated would be shared with the Arab League. Yet there has been zero action by them whatsoever. This is hardly a coalition.

    March 23, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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