I told you the other day thet the Libya War -- that's what we're calling it here at Attytood -- is less popular, at the outset, than anything before it, and now here's more numbers to back that up, from Gallup, which I consider to be the gold standard for polling:
The 47% of Americans approving of the action against Libya is lower than what Gallup has found when asking about approval of other U.S. military campaigns in the past four decades.
Americans showed the highest level of support for the 2001 military action in Afghanistan that was a response to the 9/11 terror attacks. Americans also widely supported U.S. airstrikes against Iraq in 1993 and the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Support for the current involvement in Libya is also much lower than support for U.S. airstrikes against Libya in 1986 in response to the Libyan bombing of a German nightclub that killed two American servicemen.
What's most interesting to me is that if you check out the chart at top, you'll see that four of the five least popular wars were polled when Democrats were in the Oval Office (the Somalia numbers are hard to guage, since the poll was taken while Bill Clinton was president in 1993, although the action there was initiated by George H.W. Bush in his lame duck final days, with a rationale that sounded very much like R2P....but I digress.) The GOP president on the list -- Reagan's invasion of Grenada in 1983 -- presumably is there because a) it was so recent after Vietnam and b) even your average disengaged citizen could see that invading Grenada was kind of dumb.
So what is it about "Democrat wars" -- as Bob Dole once called them, including "Democrat war" World War II -- that leads to lower poll numbers. Is it because a) liberals are more anti-war and more likely to voice disapproval even when their guy is in the White House, while normally hawkish Republicans won't back military action by a Democrat (that's my broad opinion) or b) "Democrat wars" are stupid (which I'm guessing a lot of the commenters are going to argue below)?