The British have mixed feelings about the allied military action in Libya, as do people in America and Italy, while the French are the most positive, according a new Ipsos poll of working age adults for Reuters.
Half of Britons (50%) support the military action being taken by allied forces – similar to the level of support in America (55%) - while two-thirds of French people (63%) support the action. Support is lowest in Italy where three in five (60%) oppose it.
However, the British hold conflicting opinions on whether or not we should be involved in military action in Libya. While most people (79%) think the UK cannot afford it, and half (51%) think the problems “are none of our business and we should not interfere”, two-thirds (63%) say the UK and allied forces should seek to remove Colonel Gaddafi.
The British and Americans are similarly evenly split on whether or not to “interfere” in Libyan problems while the Italians and French are in greater agreement that allied forces should be there.
All four countries are fairly evenly split on whether the action being taken is effective in protecting Libya citizens, and the end result is equally unclear to them. Britons and Americans are the least convinced that the outcome will be a democratically elected government (17% and 20%), while a third of the French and Italians think this will be the result. For Britons, a stalemate is the most likely outcome (31%).
Just 43% in Britain are satisfied with the way Prime Minister David Cameron and his government is handling the crisis and 57% are dissatisfied – lower than the satisfaction ratings Presidents Sarkozy (50%) and Obama (47%) receive from their respective publics.
However, it is not clear to the public who is in charge of the military action. More people in Britain think that the United Nations is making most of the decisions (17%), 16% say President Obama and 15% NATO, while 12% think everyone is working together. Just 3% say that Prime Minister Cameron is making most of the decisions.
Helen Cleary, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI said: “This poll shows that international support for removing Gaddafi is accompanied by concern about the cost of military action and uncertainty over whether the objectives of the allied forces are clear. This poses a challenge for David Cameron, as over half of British people are dissatisfied with the way his government is handling the crisis in Libya”.
Ipsos conducted an online omnibus survey 5th - 7th April 2011 among working age adults in Great Britain (1,016 respondents), USA (1,015) and France (1,017). The respondents were aged between 16 (18 in the USA) and 64 years and represented the demographic range of their country in this age group. Ipsos in Italy conducted 757 interviews with adults aged 18-64 on the 4th April, interviews were conducted by telephone. Results were weighted to the known population figures within each country.