New CNN Poll: Support for Libya jumps but no bounce for president
August 26th, 2011
12:10 PM ET
3 years ago

New CNN Poll: Support for Libya jumps but no bounce for president

Washington (CNN) - Support for U.S. military action in Libya has skyrocketed nearly 20 points in the wake of this week's events in Tripoli, but most Americans don't see the rebel advances in Libya as a victory for the United States, according to a new national survey.

And a CNN/ORC International Poll released Friday also indicates that while President Barack Obama's approval rating on Libya has grown, his overall job rating has not budged.

According to the poll, 54 percent of all Americans now favor U.S. military action in Libya, up from 35 percent in July. And a 52 percent majority now approve of how Obama has handled the situation in Libya, up seven points since May.

But only a third say that removing Moammar Gadhafi from power is a major achievement for the U.S. and only a third say that the events of the past week represent a victory for the U.S.

"Some of that sentiment is probably due to the fact that Americans don't view Gadhafi with the same contempt that they had for Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden - eight in ten felt that finding Saddam was a major achievement for the U.S. and two-thirds felt the same way about the death of bin Laden," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Some of it may also be due to the fact that the U.S. action was limited to air strikes. Historically, Americans appear to downplay air strikes without ground troops - the successful air strikes in Kosovo in 1999 were also not seen as a victory for the U.S. at the time.

"The pictures out of Tripoli were quite a bit different than those out of Iraq when Baghdad fell in the spring of 2003," adds Holland. "In Baghdad, American troops tied an American flag around a statue of Saddam and knocked it down with an American tank. American troops were nowhere to be seen in Tripoli this week, so it's not surprising that the U.S. public may have seen this as a victory for the Libyan rebels but not the U.S."

But the poll does indicate that a majority say that the world will view the U.S. as stronger after Libya.

Did the president get a bounce from Libya?

Apparently not. Libya has not changed the president's overall approval rating. Obama still gets low marks on the economy, and previous polling suggests that the number who think the economy is the number one issue is 12 times higher than the number who were principally concerned about Libya. As a result, Obama's overall approval rating now stands at 45 percent, with 54 percent saying they disapprove of the job he's doing in office, virtually unchanged since mid-July.

"Support for U.S. action in Libya grew in a bipartisan fashion. It's now 22 points higher among Democrats and 21 points higher among Republicans," notes Holland. "But the standard partisan gap remains on Obama's overall approval rating - Democrats are more than six times as likely as Republicans to approve of how Obama is handling his job overall."

The CNN/ORC International Poll was conducted August 24-25, with 1,017 national adults questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: CNN poll • Libya • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. ConservaFASCISTS/TeaHadists/Tea Queda/TeaLiban

    I thought republicans were supposed to be the ones with all the national security and foreign policy expertise. Apparently not!!! This President didn't campaign to be a wartime President, but since he is a wartime President, he's kicking butt and taking names.

    August 26, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. Romney > Obama

    Of course everyone wants to get rid of a dictator. Nobody wants employment at 9% for the next year (and 8% for the year after that). We need a new president with private sector experience. Government doesn't make sustainable jobs.

    August 26, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    Pirates, OBL, now helping Libya along with the other nations involved - I'd say that's pretty good. He could achieve a lot if he wasn't having to deal with the HELL NO CAUCUS that will bring down our country to make him look bad. I say vote the Obstructionists out and put people in our Congress that will WORK FOR US.

    August 26, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. Phil in KC

    People aren't payiing attention. If it requires more than 10 seconds in this AADD age, they tune it out. We're becoming an uninformed nation.

    August 26, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. terry,va

    Japanese people are honorable. When they have not done their job they resign or fall on their sword. Obummie please follow the Japanese Prime Minster's example.

    August 26, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. T'sah from Virginia

    Did the president get a bounce from Libya?

    Of course President Obama DID NOT and WILL NOT get a bump because the media is flooded with the far-RIGHT wing agendas. Since MOST have "short term memory" and are constantly BLINDED by what they see on the TV, it's difficult to remember what happened yesterday.

    All of these polls judge President Obama "singly" and it’s a constant “day by day” breaking apart of a President who is looking at the BIG PICTURE on how to reconstruct a tattered America. Singly, yes, who cares about Libya and the positive outcome that will prevail? But put together what President Obama has accomplished “collectively” and it will be shown that he is and will be one of the greatest presidents of all times.

    Why doesn’t CNN collect all of his accomplishments and ask the American people to JUDGE that? Maybe, it would stimulate the brain cells that were lost along the way and the American people will realize that they DID vote for the right person in 2008!!!!!!!

    Obama 2012 – I trust him to protect us and to continue to do the right thing!!! All of this "other" noise is just that – NOISE!!!

    August 26, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. R

    @ ConservaFASCISTS/TeaHadists/Tea Queda/TeaLiban
    "This President didn't campaign to be a wartime President, but since he is a wartime President, he's kicking butt and taking names."

    Give credit where credit is due – our military men and women are the ones kicking butt and taking names. All President Obama has done is give orders from his chair. I'll bet you were someone that believes Obama "got" Osama Bin Laden too.

    Aside from that, why should President Obama get any kind of boost in terms of support. Seems to me like the people of Libya have been the ones that are making things happen.

    August 26, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. Captain Awesome

    So NOW it's ok to capture or kill an evil tyrant, occupy an OIL-RICH Muslim country and try to re-establish some sort of democrocy?

    August 26, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. The Lone Okie

    The Libyan rebels say they are going to have a modern Islamic nation. Will religion trump democracy? It is to early for celebration.

    August 26, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. Tulsa

    His concensus building was phenomenal... To get Russia, China AND the Arab League to agree to sanctions and NATO to do the heavy lifting (and most of the fighting and paying for it) is unrivaled.
    R, Yes, it's the men and women of the armed forces are ALWAYS to be noted as those who CARRY OUT the orders of the Commander in Chief. The guy with his finger on the button is the one who takes the blame. So you don't want to give him credit? Gee, bet if any one of these efforts failed, I bet you would BLAME him, wouldn't you.
    HYPOCRIT.

    August 26, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. Tulsa

    Romney > Obama

    Dictator? REALLY?
    What an asinine thing to say. When you guys say stupid things, nobody will take you seriously. Calling our duly elected PRESIDENT a dictator shows how little you believe in America and it's core value. RULE OF LAW. It also shows you don't have a clue what a dictator is.

    August 26, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. thomas

    WMDs ?

    Republicans only like wars with endless spending , 3 trillion dollars worth !

    @ Romney > Obama
    We need a new president with private sector experience ? Make up your mind , don't blame our President for a mess you created !

    August 26, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  13. marco

    Wow a another victory for War crimes.. Take the poor country OIL He is no different that Bush..

    August 26, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. Tulsa

    I will ask again and see if CNN allows QUESTIONS to be asked.
    to Captain Awesome,
    Who is invading? The Libyans? Invading their own country? Suuuurrre.
    Who is setting up a democracy (learn to spell too) The Libyan PEOPLE? OoooKaaayy.... Don't see a problemn with that.
    Who is catching and killing the dictator? The Libyan PEOPLE, who that same dictator has kept down for 40+years? Yeah, I see your point..... heaven forbid the Libyan PEOPLE hav ethe right to change their country and throw off oppression. Right?

    August 26, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  15. Charlie in Maine

    Obama's quiet leadership on this one will be the subject of political scientists well into the future. He should not get a bounce. That is not why he did it. This is the kind of historical bounce that transcends politics. I didn't give Reagan much credit either when he said "tear down this wall" but looking back it was a moment.

    August 26, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  16. Julie

    I thought the president handled the uprising in Libya just right. He started the support, got others involved and then turned it over to NATO and to those with more a vested interest than us. It cost us 1 billion so far – were John McCain president, we would be in the third war and left holding the bag when it comes to rebuilding the country. The people of Libya are taking care of it and because of that, they will have pride and ownership in the outcome. Well done, Mr. President. Add that to finding Bin Laden and we have a president with exactly the kind of foriegn policy this country needs during these difficult time. Now if we can just get out of those two 10 year long wars and bring our troops home, we will see a better economic picture.

    August 26, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  17. R

    Tulsa
    Like I said, the Libyans seem like they were the ones making things happen. So if any of these efforts failed, I would blame them. It's that little thing called responsibility.

    And – if you're going to call me a hypocrite, at least spell it correctly.

    August 26, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Obama, has done nothing in Libya, you Dummcraps give this guy to much credit. Barrack Whosane Obama & joe don't have a clue, the great community organ player. Are you Dummycraps happy with your change yet ? Bring on Herman Cain..

    August 26, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  19. FM

    "Support for Libya jumps but no bounce for president"!!

    Are people gone nuts?? sorry to use this term. Who took people to war in Libya??? If the credit is to be given should go to the President. If you give a thumb up to Libyans, then you do not understand who helped the Libyans to initiate the war right from the beginning!

    August 26, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. Charlie in Maine

    BTW I can't be the only one looking back and wishing that GW Bush had possessed the skills to create and sustain that kind of coalition as well as the patience to help Iraqis overthrow Sadaam instead of invading. The whole country was a no-fly zone and if he had added "air support" Iraq might look different now.

    August 26, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. TheBoatride

    You Dummycraps still waiting for change ...

    August 26, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  22. terry,va

    @tulsa...the US has paid 80% of the costs of Obummie's non-war with Libya. He is a joke. I do agree with you about Obummie not personally fighting. My take on that chump is that he would hide under the desk while the real men and women would take care of business like we always do. Semper Fi

    August 26, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  23. Blackman in America

    The good news is my President did NOT do for a "bouce".....................the American media really need to get real.

    August 26, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  24. Fair is Fair

    "His concensus building was phenomenal... To get Russia, China AND the Arab League to agree to sanctions and NATO to do the heavy lifting (and most of the fighting and paying for it) is unrivaled."
    ----
    Hardly. Rewind to Gulf War I and George Bush the 41st. Got Russia AND China on board at the UN – not just for sanctions, but for use of force. Formed a coalition of many nations – including, of all, SYRIA to fight against Saddam's Iraq. Managed to keep Israel out of it despite being hit with over 50 scud missiles. Completed ground operations in 100 hours. Etc, etc.

    THAT is unrivaled.

    August 26, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  25. Tulsa

    terry,va
    Japanese people are honorable. When they have not done their job they resign or fall on their sword. Obummie please follow the Japanese Prime Minster's example.
    -----------------------------
    Seems like the Pres is doing OK. Getting out of Iraq CHECK, Get BinLaden CHECK, pass health care, CHECK, pass student loan reform CHECK, pass financial sector reform with a consumer agency to monitor fairness in lending for ordinary ciizens CHECK, Somali pirates who captured Americans. DEAD.
    Oh, and he won the election in '08 which means if YOUR task was to defeat him, you failed. Fall on your own sword.

    August 26, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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