Obama and Libya War: Criticism Grows in Poll

Nearly 50 percent of Americans disapprove of how Obama is handling Libya.

ByABC News
April 20, 2011, 3:20 PM

April 20, 2011 -- Disapproval of Barack Obama's handling of the situation in Libya has grown sharply in the past month, with the president facing criticism from Americans who oppose U.S. military involvement – but also from some of those who say the mission's aim is too limited.

Fifty-six percent support the U.S. military involvement overall, but many fewer, 42 percent, approve of Obama's handling of the situation. While his approval has held nearly steady, disapproval has grown by 15 points in the past month, with fewer undecided.

The disconnect relates to the mission; the poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, finds that among Americans who support U.S. military participation, most say it should be aimed at ousting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, not just protecting civilians.

Full report with charts and questions.

In effect, the poll divides Americans into three groups:

A change in leadership in Libya may not be out of the question; in an interview published today in the British newspaper the Guardian, Libya's foreign minister said an interim government and subsequent elections were possibilities, with Gadhafi's future "on the table," if NATO-led forces first cease fire.

INVOLVEMENT – Support for allied air strikes on Libya – whatever their aim – does not translate into support for an increased U.S. role in those strikes. Even among people who favor ousting Gadhafi as a goal, a relatively small group, 24 percent, says the level of U.S. military involvement in Libya should be increased.