Majority support for airstrikes in Libya

February 23, 2015, 4:26 PM UTC

Over two-thirds of Americans support U.S. involvement in airstrikes on ISIS in Libya

The Middle Eastern fight against ISIS entered a new phase with the Egyptian airstrikes against ISIS in Libya. Egyptian President Abdel Fatteh el-Sisi ordered the strikes in retaliation for the execution of up to two dozen Egyptian Christians who had been captured by the Islamist group. ISIS, which controls vast swathes of northern Iraq and Syria also controls parts of Libya. 

YouGov's latest research shows that 68% of Americans support American involvement in airstrikes on Libya against ISIS while only 17% oppose it. Republicans (87%) are the most in favor of the potential airstrikes, but 64% of Democrats and 61% of independents also support using American military force against ISIS in Libya. Opposition to airstrikes is highest among independents (22%) as well as Hispanics (27%) and under-30s (26%).

The United States was involved in the international coalition which helped Libyan rebels unseat the former Libyan dictator Gadaffi. After he was overthrown in 2011 Libya slowly descended into chaos, with two competing governments battling for control of the country and dozens of militias holding sway in their small corners of Libya. 

Opinion is fairly evenly distributed as to what the US should have done. 27% say that America should have done more to help Libya rebuild after the fighting, while 19% think the decision to limit involvement after the war ended was correct. 23% think the US should have never gotten involved to begin with, while 32% simply don't know. 

Americans do still tend to think, however, that the international military action taken against Libya in 2011 was right. 40% of Americans say that it was right, 15% say that it was wrong and 45% don't know. This is essentially unchanged from 2011 itself, when 46% of Americans thought it was right, 16% thought it was wrong and 38% either weren't sure or hadn't heard about the intervention. 

Full poll results can be found here and topline results and margin of error here