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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