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45% Support U.S. Military Action in Libya, 34% Oppose, 21% Undecided

Voters have mixed feelings about President Obama's decision to use the U.S. military to help rebels in Libya and nearly half agree that he should have gotten Congress' okay first.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 45% of Likely U.S. Voters support the president's decision to take military action in Libya. Thirty-four percent (34%) disagree with that decision, and another 21% are not sure about it. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Fifty-five percent (55%) of Democrats and a plurality (42%) of voters not affiliated with either major party support the president's decision to use U.S. military force in Libya. Just 36% of Republicans share that view.

Liberals agree more strongly with the president's action than do moderates and conservatives.

Among all voters, 47% think the president should have gotten congressional approval before ordering the military into action in Libya. Thirty-four percent (34%) say the prior approval of Congress was not necessary, but 19% more are undecided.

Eighty-seven percent (87%) of voters say they are following news reports about the political unrest in Libya at least somewhat closely, with 51% who are following Very Closely.

In a survey earlier this week, 34% of Likely Voters favored more direct U.S. involvement in Libya, up 12 points from 22% two weeks before.  But voters were also more critical of the president's handling of the situation than they were in the previous survey.

The United States began missile attacks on Libya on Saturday followed since by air strikes intended to enforce a no-fly zone over the country to protect rebels seeking to overthrow longtime Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The British and French also are participating in the military operations, but the coalition of forces involved is now reportedly in major disarray.

Eighty-two percent (82%) of the Political Class support Obama's Libya decision, compared to 39% of Mainstream voters. Sixty-five percent (65%) of those in the Political Class feel Congress' approval was not necessary, but 56% of Mainstream voters disagree.

Most Americans now fear that the political unrest roiling Arab nations like Egypt and Libya may get America into another big war

Just prior to the president's announcement of the Libya action, 41% of all voters said he was doing a good or excellent job handling national security issues, while 36% gave him poor marks.  These numbers have held relatively steady for the past several months.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion polling information.  We poll on a variety of topics in the fields of politics, business and lifestyle, updating our site's content on a news cycle throughout the day, everyday.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade. To learn more about our methodology, click here.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on March 22-23, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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