Rasmussen: 45% Support U.S. Military Action in Libya

Thursday, 24 Mar 2011 11:55 AM

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Voters have mixed feelings about President Obama's decision to use the U.S. military to help rebels in Libya and nearly half agree that he should have gotten Congress' approval first.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 45 percent of Likely U.S. Voters support the president's decision to take military action in Libya. Thirty-four percent disagree with that decision, and another 21 percent are not sure about it.

Fifty-five percent of Democrats and a plurality (42 percent) of voters not affiliated with either major party support the president's decision to use U.S. military force in Libya. Just 36 percent of Republicans share that view.

Liberals agree more strongly with the president's action than do moderates and conservatives.

Among all voters, 47 percent think the president should have gotten congressional approval before ordering the military into action in Libya. Thirty-four percent say the prior approval of Congress was not necessary, but 19 percent more are undecided.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on March 22-23, 2011, by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points.

Eighty-seven percent of voters say they are following news reports about the political unrest in Libya at least somewhat closely, with 51 percent who are following Very Closely.

In a survey earlier this week, 34 percent of Likely Voters favored more direct U.S. involvement in Libya, up 12 points from 22 percent two weeks before. But voters were also more critical of the president's handling of the situation than they were in the previous survey.

The United States began missile attacks on Libya on Saturday followed since by air strikes intended to enforce a no-fly zone over the country to protect rebels seeking to overthrow longtime Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

The British and French also are participating in the military operations, but the coalition of forces involved is now reportedly in major disarray.

Most Americans now fear that the political unrest roiling Arab nations like Egypt and Libya may get America into another big war.

Just before the president's announcement of the Libya action, 41 percent of all voters said he was doing a good or excellent job handling national security issues, while 36 percent gave him poor marks. These numbers have held relatively steady for the past several months.

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