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Most Americans Back a 'No-Fly Zone' Over Libya, But Oppose Stronger Moves

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A majority of Americans support establishing a "no-fly zone" over Libya as a way of supporting rebels there who appear to be losing ground to the forces of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, according to a CNN/Opinion Research poll conducted March 11-13. But, at the same time, most oppose more aggressive military action.

The idea of enforcing a no-fly zone to take away the Gadhafi's ability to use warplanes in the fight against his opposition has drawn support from some leading senators like Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry and John McCain, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee.

But although President Obama said he was keeping all options on the table in regard to Libya, other administration officials like Defense Secretary Robert Gates and White House Chief of Staff have expressed caution about moving down that path.

In the CNN poll, 56 percent of those surveyed said they supported the idea of the U.S. and other countries establishing a no-fly zone, while 40 percent were opposed, with 4 percent undecided. Fifty-three percent back sending arms and supplies to the rebels while 43 percent are opposed, with 4 percent undecided.

CNN polling director Keating Holland said, "The no-fly zone wins support from Democrats and Republicans alike, with virtually no partisan differences. That's rare in politics these days. A gender gap does exist though, which is typical for questions on military action. More than sixty percent of men favor a no-fly zone, compared to 50 percent of women."

However, the public opposes using planes and missiles to strike at Gadhafi's forces by a 62 percent to 32 percent margin, with 6 percent undecided. And, it opposes using ground troops by 76 percent to 22 percent, with 2 percent undecided.

About 7 of 10 Americans say the removal of Gadhafi is a very or somewhat important foreign policy goal for the U.S., but most of those (47 percent) are in the "somewhat important" category.

When it comes to Obama's handling of the situation, 45 percent approve and 40 percent disapprove, with 15 percent undecided. Obama gets a slightly higher mark for his handling of the unrest sweeping across many Arab nations in the Mideast, with 49 percent approving of his performance while 43 percent do not, with 8 percent undecided.

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12 Comments

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sendintheclown00

Why do we keep sticking our nose in any other Countries Battles the people don't want us more important the American People don't want us there either. Especially when we aren't not successful which cost thousands of civilians life's. I don't want any other Countries sticking their nose in our business! Let the Arabia, Russia and other UN members take care of their own problems we have enough on our plate with Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea bring our troops home and save our economy from the cost of war. We should be spending this money on what the Japanese people need! That's what America is all about, not war.

March 16 2011 at 2:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
brantaydes

I'm as much of a hawk as anyone, but cannot imaging that a majority of people support a no-fly zone over Libya, requiring our air forces to attack and silence Libyan aircraft in order to accomplish this. It requires us to essentially invade this country, regardless of how one wants to disguise this factor. Do we really need this additional hassle? Is Libya that critcal for us to risk American miliary lives and time.? Geez, we're in far enough now, let's not jump into another fire at the moment.

March 16 2011 at 4:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fworfe

Enough is enough, in fact way too much already! The Arab world is sitting on top of indescribable wealth, abundant air and sea power, but where in heck is the intestinal fortitude? The Muslim Arabs would be delighted if they could cojole the USA and Western Allies into plunging headlong into the Libyan mess so that we could get blamed by all the other Arab Muslims in the world for the body bags and destruction. Sec. of State Clinton and President Obama aren't falling for it without a lot more supportive moral muscle than is now evident. Let's stay the course. The Libyan rebelsl do need support; no doubt about that---so again, where are their Arab brothers?

March 15 2011 at 5:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tistolaugh

I would wager that if you ask these same people who allegedly support a no fly zone what the conflict is about, who the people are trying to ouster in Libya, and what they know about what a new govt will look like, few could answer.

March 14 2011 at 4:48 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
joe

If the U.S.bombs Libya to create a No Fly Zone Gadhafi will promptly say that many children were killed in the bombing and the Arab communities will say the Americans are murderers of children. If the Arabs want a No Fly Zone in Libya they should create it.

March 14 2011 at 4:38 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
Chuck

What will it take for the American people to get out of the UN ? We should not be the policeman of the world. WE SHOULD NOT BE IN NATO. We the people should not support the WTO as it is they who are the ones that control the USA. Without the USA,there would be no UN. If the people that are selling the oil can not provide protection - don't do business with them. Stop being stupid and bring all Embassies home. We are not interested in "your" peace keeping missions !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get out of UN now.

March 14 2011 at 4:09 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Chuck's comment
texturs

you should really give up this santitized, romanticized version of American History. the UN are the voices of the rest of the world and we need to hear them...it's their planet too. without the U.S. hypocritically using it's veto power to side with injustice against the arab world...we would be more inclined to let the rest of the world speak.

March 14 2011 at 6:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
JerrellB

A "NO FLY ZONE" is the only help we could have reasonably provided. But it is too late for that, Gadhafi will have and probably already has defeated the rebels and we have only on no-action President to than for that. How many remember Biden's prediction before the election? It has come true!!!!!

March 14 2011 at 3:41 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
hedgedevil

While I Back an Arab enforced no fly zone as bernardv2 does, we all know its to late for that.With president Obama sitting on his hands for all this time,and waiting 8 days before even mentioning Libya ,Gadhafi has the upper hand and is probably going to stay in power.To bad the president does not act quickly.Sometimes a person needs to use their gut instead of their head to act.Obama needs to think a lot and is sure is not working out for him orthis country.

March 14 2011 at 3:18 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
mmmmmmmmmm

ditto to bernardo

March 14 2011 at 3:08 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
bernardv2

I back a no-fly zone,enforced by other Arab countries,not the U.S.

March 14 2011 at 3:02 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply

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