A new CNN poll, conducted from this past Friday through Sunday, finds an overwhelming majority of American adults in favor of the no-fly zone action in Libya. That’s up significantly from last week, when support was still strong but somewhat more divided. At the same time, though, equally large majorities oppose any use of ground troops.
The increase in support for a military action may be an example of the bump that military action often gets at the outset of a conflict, when the country first finds U.S. lives at stake in the conflict.
Note the detailed wording of the question:
Some people have suggested establishing a “no-fly” zone in Libya which would be an area patrolled by military planes from the U.S. and other countries to prevent Gadhafi from using his air force. No U.S. ground troops would be involved but U.S. airplanes or missiles might be used to shoot down Libyan airplanes or attack ground bases used by the Libyan air force. Do you favor or oppose the U.S. and other countries attempting to establish a “no-fly zone” in Libya?
The numbers: 70% in favor, 27% against. A week ago, before the United Nations Security Council passed the relevant resolution and the United States was officially about to join the action, the numbers were 56% in favor, 40% against.
A follow-up question asked: “The military actions to create a “no-fly zone” might not be directly targeted at Gadhafi’s troops who are fighting the opposition forces in Libya. Would you favor or oppose the U.S. and other countries using planes and missiles to directly attack Gadhafi’s troops in Libya?”
The result here falls to 54% in favor, 43% against — similar to last week’s poll on a no-fly zone itself.
And then this question: “And would you favor or oppose the U.S. and other countries using ground troops to directly attack Gadhafi’s troops in Libya?”
The result: Only 28% in favor, to 70% against.
The poll also shows 55% being somewhat confident or very confident that the U.S. can accomplish its goals without ground troops, to 42% who are not confident — again, similar to last week’s poll on a no-fly zone.