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Voter Views on Libya Show Little Change


President Obama’s address to the nation Monday night doesn’t appear to have made voters more confident about his handling of the situation in Libya, nor has it made them feel more strongly that Libya is important to U.S. national security.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 43% of Likely U.S. Voters rate the Obama administration’s response to the Libya situation as good or excellent, marking little change from two previous surveys. Thirty percent (30%) give the administration poor marks, up from 21% earlier this month before the president committed U.S. forces to Libya. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Forty percent (40%) of voters felt at that time that the administration was doing a good or excellent job responding to the political crisis in Libya. Last week, with the U.S. military actively involved in Libya, 41% rated the Obama administration’s response as good or excellent, but 28% said it was doing a poor job.

The numbers also worsened slightly for the president from last week when voters are asked if Libya is vital to U.S. national security these days. Twenty-seven percent (27%) of voters say yes, while 48% say no, up six points from a week ago. Twenty-four percent (24%) remain undecided.

The latest survey was taken Monday and Tuesday nights, and the findings from the first night prior to the president’s speech and the second night after the speech show virtually no change on either question.

Last week, 45% of voters supported the president's decision to take military action in Libya. Thirty-four percent (34%) disagreed with that decision, and another 21% were not sure about it.

Seventy-two percent (72%) of Democrats think the Obama administration is doing a good or excellent job responding to the political crisis in Libya. Pluralities of Republicans (44%) and voters not affiliated with either of the major parties (43%) say the administration is doing a poor job.

Fifty seven percent (57%) of both GOP voters and unaffiliateds say Libya is not a vital national security interest for the United States these days. Democrats are closely divided on the question.

The Political Class is more emphatic, with 66% who view Libya as a vital national security interest. Most Mainstream voters (52%) disagree.

But then 79% of Political Class voters say the administration is doing a good or excellent job with regards to Libya, a view shared by just 33% of those in the Mainstream.

Eighty-seven percent (87%) of all voters nationwide say they are following recent news reports about the situation in Libya, with 56% who say they are following Very Closely.

In late February, 67% of American Adults said the United States should leave the situation in the Arab countries alone.

Sixty percent (60%) of Americans think it is more important for the United States to be allies with any country that best protects our own national security than it is to be allies only with countries that have freely elected governments.

But 76% of voters also feel it’s generally good for America when dictators in other countries are replaced with leaders selected in free and fair elections.

Still, most Americans fear that the political unrest in Arab countries like Egypt and Libya may get America into another big war.

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.

Rasmussen Reports Platinum Members get an all-access pass to polling news, analysis and insight not available to the general public.

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 28-29, 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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©2011 Rasmussen Reports, LLC
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