What do Americans think of military action in Libya?
While polls in this country appear to show a public split on military action in Libya, across the pond there is significant support among Americans.
The Ipsos office in DC has carried out a poll for Reuters which shows that 60% of Americans support US and allied military action in Libya, and eight in ten (79%) agree that the US and its Western allies should seek to remove Gaddafi.
As is often the case when the American military is deployed abroad, the public have rallied around the flag -- but it is important to bear in mind that this kind of support will have a half-life that depends on the ongoing cost of the undertaking. This cost can be counted in terms of either casualties or dollars, but as either increases support for the initiative is likely to drop off.
Politically, there is - so far - little cost to President Obama because the public prioritise his performance on domestic (ie. economic) issues rather than foreign policy issues right now. This is underpinned by the fact that almost half (48%) of Americans choose the phrase 'cautious and consultative' (from a list of options) as the best way to describe Obama's leadership now. Over a third (36%) feel he is 'indecisive and dithering', and one in six (17%) choose 'strong and decisive'.