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Just 21% Say U.S. Has Clearly Defined Mission in Libya

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Despite President Obama’s address to the nation Monday night, most voters still aren’t clear about why the U.S. military is engaged in Libya.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 21% of Likely U.S. Voters think the United States has a clearly defined military mission in Libya. Fifty-six percent (56%) disagree and say the military does not have a clearly defined mission. Nearly one-in-four voters (23%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The president apparently did not close the sale with his address explaining his decision to commit U.S. forces to Libya. The survey was taken Monday and Tuesday nights, and the findings from the first night prior to the speech and the second night after the speech showed little change.

The numbers also didn’t change over the two nights when voters were asked if Libya is a vital national security interest for the United States these days

While the president is hopeful that longtime Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi will step down, it is not a stated U.S. policy aim. But 62% of voters think it is at least somewhat likely that Gadhafi will be removed from power as a result of the military action now being taken by the United States and other countries. Just 23% say it’s unlikely. These findings include 30% who say Gadhafi’s removal is Very Likely and only three percent (3%) who believe it’s Not At All Likely. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.

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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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