Nearly Six in 10 Support Involvement in Libya

Nearly six in 10 Americans support U.S. military involvement in NATO efforts against the Libyan government – but few of them want to see it increase from its current level.

Fifty-eight percent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll support the current U.S. role, essentially the same as in mid-April. Among supporters, seven in 10 say U.S. involvement should be held at the current level, vs. 15 percent increased and 11 percent trimmed back.

President Obama’s approval rating for handling the situation also is essentially unchanged, at 44 percent; but there’s been an 8-point drop in disapproval, to 41 percent, with more undecided.

NATO ratcheted up its campaign this morning with an unusual daytime bombing raid on Tripoli, targeting military barracks near Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s residential compound. Gaddafi responded with a speech in which he vowed to “stay here ‘til the end – dead, alive, victorious.”

Gaddafi is a bone of contention in public views on the conflict: Supporters of U.S. involvement divide on whether its purpose should be only to protect civilians, or also to remove him from power.

That division helps explain why Obama’s approval rating on Libya is lower than support for U.S. involvement overall. His approval rating slips from 62 percent of those who want only a civilian-protection mission (the current framework) to 54 percent of those who also want to oust Gaddafi. Among those who oppose the mission entirely, Obama gets just 25 percent approval.

This ABC/Post poll was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates. Click here for details.

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