Just over half of American voters want the U.S. and its allies to force Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi from power. At the same time, a majority opposes the ongoing military action in that country, as most say the Obama administration has not explained the goal there.
According to a Fox News poll released Thursday, 30 percent of voters favor U.S. military involvement in Libya. A majority -- 58 percent -- opposes the action. That’s little changed from early April when 30 percent were in favor and 62 percent were opposed.
Opposition to U.S. military involvement is widespread, as over half of men (58 percent), women (58 percent), Democrats (58 percent), Republicans (57 percent) and independents (57 percent) are opposed.
Sentiment is reversed when the question is about removing Qaddafi from power. A 53-percent majority favors U.S. and NATO military forces removing the Libyan leader, while 31 percent oppose that action. The remaining 16 percent are unsure.
Support for removing Qaddafi spans the political spectrum: 57 percent of Democrats, 51 percent of Republicans and 48 percent independents favor ousting the leader.
International military operations, including U.S. forces, began attacking pro-Qaddafi defenses on March 18. Voters may oppose that mission because they’re unclear on the objective: 67 percent say the Obama administration has failed to explain what the U.S. is trying to achieve in Libya. That’s up from 61 percent two months ago (April 2011).
A 59-percent majority of voters thinks President Obama should ask Congress for its consent for the U.S. mission in Libya. That’s twice as many as the 28 percent who don’t think he needs to get consent.
On Friday, the House of Representatives passed a resolution sponsored by Speaker John Boehner calling for the White House to provide Congress with a justification for the Libyan mission within two weeks. The resolution makes clear that Congress could cut off funds for the war if the president fails to consult with the body about the U.S. role.
Most Republicans (68 percent) as well as majorities of independents (57 percent) and Democrats (53 percent) agree the president should ask Congress for its consent.
In addition, both those who favor and those who oppose U.S. involvement in Libya say Obama should consult Congress.
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 912 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from June 5 to June 7. For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.