New CNN Poll: Support for Libya jumps but no bounce for president
August 26th, 2011
12:10 PM ET
10 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. Republican who supports President Obama

    Of course now they are winning people jump on the bandwagon. But they do not want to give any credit to the way it was handled. The approach this country took was a good one and should have been done for the 2 others we are engaged with. The muted rhetoric this week from the right-wing tea-aliban is a sign that they have nothing to say again our President. They are quick to critique but do not have the intestinal fortitude to admit it when things go right.

    August 26, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. DC Insider

    bahahahahahaah, ConservaFASCISTS/TeaHadists/Tea Queda/TeaLiban you make me laugh when I read your posts. You clearly are so deluded in your Man Love for our President that you never read the articles, but just post random adulation about our POTUS.

    "Did the president get a bounce from Libya? Apparently not. Libya has not changed the president's overall approval rating." Yet you fawn over the POTUS for his decisive action in Libya. Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't NATO really do the heavy lifting in Libya? We just helped kick off everything.

    August 26, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  3. DC Insider

    @T'sah from Virginia seriously, the whole world is not against Obama. YOU have to stop with this "right-wing" media conspiracy thing. What makes America great is you have many opinions and you get media from a variety of sources. This is not a State Run Media Outlet that just publishes what the POTUS wants us to hear. I understand you have to cling to your Obama/Biden 2012, but I fear that with the direction the Economy is taking, we'll see a one-term president. Personally, I would like to see Hillary run in 2012, but we know that won't happen.

    August 26, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. bb

    All these summer polls are the usual for summer polls – questionable. Makes you seriously question who is sitting at home, answering land lines with the time and patience to sit through a survey during summer vacation.

    August 26, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. GOP = I got mine, screw you

    All that can be said is thank God we have Obama working hard for real Americans.
    It is frightening when you think of the alternative – McCain who would promised to continue the Repub economic policies that had screwed up the US and a bimbo like Palin who claims to be a helpless victim anytime someone asks her a simple question??
    And then you look at this circus clown pageantry of the current GOP candidates! OMG they're all so ridiculous. Then there’s the fringe that is the tea-baggers?! Check out to see who the tea-bags are.

    August 26, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. vic , nashville ,tn

    Very interesting
    “Eight in ten felt that Finding Saddam was a major achievement for the U.S.” Saddam didn’t have WMD
    Osama bin Laden and Gadhafi killed innocent Americans

    That mean Still many believe Bush Cheney Karl Rove lies

    August 26, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |

    President Obama is a good leader. Though it doesn't reflect in the polls there are millions of us that will vote for him in 2012! the battle is on.....I'm gonna enjoy it. If anyone thinks kickin obama out the WH will be EASY is delusional.

    August 26, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  8. GOP = I got mine, screw you

    @ Captain Idiot – "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?"
    Hell yea! So long as its the same citizens who live there do it – like what Obama supported in Lybia. Or are you trying to promote more fox TV & hate radio lies?

    August 26, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. ConservaFASCISTS/TEAliban/TEAhadists

    I'll bet you were someone that believes Obama "got" Osama Bin Laden too.
    President Obama gave the order! He did exactly what he said he would do if he had intelligence OBL was in Pakistan. That's a fact. I know you TEApublicans have a hard time dealing with FACTS!!!

    August 26, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Romney > Obama wrote:
    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.
    What does private sector bias, I mean experience, have to do with being POTUS? Nothing. I don't want to see someone in their who does not have my best interests at heart. I do want to see someone who will conduct themselves in a manner that reflects that they were elected 'by the people, and for the people'.

    In case you have not noticed, neither the word 'business' or corporation' appears anywhere in the founding documents of this country.

    August 26, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. HockeyMinny

    Does the dude on the left have the flag upside down?

    August 26, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ R
    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.
    Oh please........
    Does the R stand for RethugliKKKlan or Retard?
    Wait let me guess.
    He is the Commander-in-Chief. If it had been that murderous idiot 'W' in the White House that had put the plan into efect to capture bin Laden, and get NATO to go into Lybia we would've been made to place American flags everywhere lest we were thought unpatriotic, and his stupid "Mission Accomplished" banner would've been draped over the White House.
    Shut up!
    Obama 2012

    August 26, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. AZ DEM

    Its not a victory for the United States its a victory for the Libyan people. President Obama has shown that THIS is the way we can aid nations that are attempting to overthrow their ownfascist dictators. This whole criticism of leading from behind is pure BS and anyone who thinks different doesnt deserve to be convinced of their ignorance. President Obama made the right choice and hes schooling the ENTIRE GOP on how foreign policy should be dealt with.

    August 26, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. The Other Michael in Houston

    Let me remind all about the "3 am wake up call" add. So all the Republicans crying about then Senator Obama not being able to be a good commander and chief, well let us take a look:

    1. End combat operations in operations in Iraq – check
    2. Show the world that it is not a good idea to hijack American ships – check
    3. Capture or Kill Bin Laden – check
    4. Take a major role to topple a dictator without one American being killed – check
    5. Make North Korea back down from idol threats – check

    I would say a great Commander and Chief if you ask me.

    @ Romeny>Obama, you can thank your party for the 9.2 % unemployment rate. That is what happens when you create an unfunded prescription plan, start 2 unfunded wars and remove regulation from Wall Street which caused the housing crisis. Now you complain because it will take the next 5 Presidents to fix the mess that was done between 2000 and 2008

    August 26, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  15. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    I guess if you need a job you should apply for being a pollster. For God's sake these people poll EVERYTHING the POTUS does. Of course his rating isn't going to soar because of Libya because the unemployment rate here is still like 9% and most don't acre about what happened over there UNLESS it had gone bad, American lives were lost, and it appeared we would have been stuck in another war we can not get out of. The GOP went on attack as soon as the tables were turning in Libya to make SURE the president didn't get any kind of bounce. Right now they are probably preparing a poll about how well he did in his hurricane speech.

    August 26, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  16. Indy

    The chances of any Republican giving Obama credit for anything are about the same as seeing $2.00 a gallon gas ZERO CHANCE

    August 26, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  17. AZ DEM

    Also we didnt occupy Libya @ The Lone Okie...just shows how misinformed our nation truly is. All that we contributed was air strikes along with NATO no ground troops have been used. Get a grip because what Bush did in Iraq is no where near coparison what Obama did in Libya. HYPOCRITES

    August 26, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  18. Malory Archer

    Captain Awesome, you really should educate yourself before you post, lest you out yourself for the ignorant Obama hater you are. The United States doesn't have ONE SINGLE boot on the ground in Libya, nor have they in decades. In fact, we haven't even had diplomatic relations with Lybia since before raygun launched an attack against Libya in 1986.

    The U.S. acted in concert with NATO to enforce no-fly zones over the country, and they launched a few missiles at designated targets. We have thousands of them lying around and they've already been paid for, so in reality this was a no-cost operation.

    August 26, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. RealityChecker

    Why should Obama and his idiot supporters think the American people would give any "bounce" to Obama? 80% of Americans opposed Obama's attack on Libya, so only deranged morons would think any Americans would support Obama on it. Which explains why America's dead last news organization... CNN.... is surprised that Americans have rejected Obama. Again.

    August 26, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Pirates, OBL, now helping Libya along with the other nations involved – I'd say that's pretty good.
    Obama is very good at killing things... especially JOBS!

    August 26, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    So Obama and his kool aide disciples expect credit for what they claim they have not been doing for months, which was waging war on an oil rich muslim nation in order to facilitate regime change. I thought their mandate was to protect civilians? Anybody else seeing the similarity with Iraq? Anybody else seeing the complete hypocrisy of Obama, the Democrats and the looney left? Their 10 years of whining and screaming about George Bush was nothing but pure politcial BS.

    So when will Obama and Biden be tried in international court for war crimes committed during this illegal war? And when will we start bombing Syria to do the same thing?

    August 26, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. rob

    To Tulsa,
    Nato did the heavy lifting?????? The French and Brits are second rate military's at best and getting worse. Without the US support with weapons and our initial roll in clearing their airforce etc. they could not have even begun to attempt this action. Also, it took 6 months and probably thousands of extra lives for Obama to keep the liberals happy by EXPERIMENTING with this thing. We could have finished this thin in a matter of weeks. CNN is desparate for a good news story for this President so they ignore the backround facts and lament that he doesn't get a bounce at the polls. Very predictable.

    August 26, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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