As Muammar al-Qaddafi’s rule seems to be ending in Libya, and a provisional government looks to take power, most American voters oppose using the U.S. military to influence that country’s fate.
Less than a third of voters -- 30 percent -- favor U.S. military involvement in Libya, according to a Fox News poll released Thursday. A 55-percent majority opposes it, while the remaining 14 percent are unsure.
That’s identical to earlier this year when 30 percent likewise favored U.S. involvement.
Majorities of independents (66 percent) and Republicans (58 percent) oppose U.S. action in Libya. Fifty percent of Democrats also oppose it (37 percent are in favor).
There’s even less support for American financial aid for Libyan rebels: 25 percent favor financial support, while 64 percent oppose it.
Among the three out of ten voters favoring U.S. participation in Libya, however, 50 percent also favor giving funds to the rebels and 41 percent oppose the idea.
International military operations, including U.S. forces, began attacking pro-Qaddafi defenses on March 18, and NATO officially took charge over all operations in Libya at that time.
Yet despite their skepticism of U.S. participation in Libya, voters approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing handling Libya by a 48-34 percent margin.
Although it seems paradoxical that 48 percent of voters approve of Obama on Libya when only 30 percent favor U.S. participation there -- this puzzle is mainly due to partisanship. In particular, while just 37 percent of Democrats favor involvement in Libya, almost twice as many -- 71 percent -- approve of Obama’s handling of the crisis. Likewise, while 23 percent of independents favor involvement, 41 percent give positive marks to Obama. Among Republicans, 25 percent favor U.S. participation and 26 percent approve of Obama on Libya.
Meanwhile, the number of voters disapproving of Obama’s performance on Libya is down 4 percentage points since May (38 percent disapproved), and down 17 points since April (51 percent disapproved).
Still, having fewer people disapprove hasn’t produced an equal bump in approval. Instead, there are currently more who are “unsure” how the president is doing on Libya: 18 percent in the latest poll compared to 8 percent unsure in April.
This is especially true among Republicans. Consider this: 7 percent of Republicans were undecided about how Obama was doing on Libya in April, while today 22 percent are undecided. During the same time period, disapproval of Obama among Republicans went down 15 points and approval held steady.
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 911 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from August 29 to August 31. For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.