Majority (64%) of Global Citizens Believe Death of Muammar Gaddafi Will Lead to Stability in Libya: But Only a Third (32%) Say His Execution Was Acceptable

Majority of Americans (59%) Say Execution Was Acceptable

Monday, December 12, 2011

Washington, DC — A new poll conducted by global research company Ipsos for Reuters News finds a majority (64%) of citizens from 23 countries think the death of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi will lead to stability in Libya. Only one third (32%) of global citizens, however, believe his execution without a trial is acceptable. In hindsight, six in ten (63%) ‘support’ (16% strongly, 47% somewhat) NATO’s military intervention in April 2011. Ipsos surveyed 17,678 adults from 23 countries between November 1 and November 15, 2011.

Hope for a More Stable Libya

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed recently in the conflict between the Libyan government and rebel forces in the 2011 Libyan Civil War. A majority (64%) of global citizens think ‘Gaddafi’s death will lead to stability in the region’ is the statement closest to their point of view while about a third (36%) are more likely to say his death will ‘serve to destabilize the region.’

People in Hungary (75%) are most likely to respond that his death will lead to stability, followed by those in Great Britain (74%), Australia (73%) and South Africa (73%).

In contrast, those in Russia (33%) are least likely to think his death will lead to stability, followed by those in Indonesia (35%), Turkey (40%), Japan (56%) and Argentina (57%).

The Ends Don’t Justify the Means…

Despite the hope that Gaddafi’s death might contribute to stability in the North African region, there appears to be skepticism regarding the way the Libyan leader died. While he was initially captured alive, he was killed, without a trial, soon after. Only three in ten (32%) believe ‘Gaddafi’s execution is acceptable because being killed in battle is acceptable under the rules of war’ while the other seven in ten (68%) believe ‘Gaddafi should have been brought to trial for war crimes under the Geneva convention before receiving a sentence.’

The only country with a majority of respondents to express that Gaddahi’s execution is acceptable is the United States, where six in ten (59%) responded this way. Those in Canada (42%), India (42%) and Poland (42%) are next-most likely to feel the execution is acceptable (though at considerable distance from the United States) followed by Australia (41%) and Great Britain (41%).

People in Turkey (12%) are least likely to believe the execution was acceptable, followed by Russia (14%), Indonesia (17%), Japan (20%), Sweden (21%) and Argentina (21%) are next in line to say this statement is the closest to their point of view.

The Case for Military Intervention

Respondents were asked to think back to April of this year, when a number of countries who are part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (“NATO”), including the United States, France, Great Britain, Canada and Germany, with the support of the Arab League, decided to enforce a United Nations Resolution and intervene, militarily, in Libya.

A majority (63%) of global citizens ‘support’ (16% strongly, 47% somewhat) the intervention while about a third (36%) ‘oppose’ (13% strongly, 23% somewhat) it. This figure is essentially unchanged since it was asked during the intervention in April (60%).

Overall support is highest in Australia (79%, +3 points since April) followed by Belgium (77%, -1), India (77%, +2), Canada (75%, +5) and France (75%, +2). Support is lowest in Russia (28%, +5), Turkey (42%, +8), Japan (51%, -16), Argentina (50%, +12) and Indonesia (51%, +5).

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Global @dvisor poll conducted between November 1st and November 15th. The survey instrument is conducted monthly in 23 countries via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The countries reporting herein are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America. An international sample of 17,678 adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and age 16-64 in all other countries, were interviewed. Approximately 1000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis with the exception of Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Russia and Turkey, where each have a sample 500+. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to the most recent country Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points for a sample of 1,000 and an estimated margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points for a sample of 500 19 times out of 20 per country of what the results would have been had the entire population of the specifically aged adults in that country been polled.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Clifford Young
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs

For information about Ipsos and access to all Media and Polling Releases go to:

About Ipsos

Ipsos is a leading global survey-based market research company, owned and managed by research professionals. Ipsos helps interpret, simulate, and anticipate the needs and responses of consumers, customers, and citizens around the world. Member companies assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media. They measure public opinion around the globe. Ipsos member companies offer expertise in advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, and public affairs research, as well as forecasting, modeling, and consulting. Ipsos has a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and online research products and services, guided by industry experts and bolstered by advanced analytics and methodologies. The company was founded in 1975 and has been publicly traded since 1999. In 2010, Ipsos generated global revenues of €1.140 billion ($1.6 billion U.S.). Visit to learn more about Ipsos offerings and capabilities. Ipsos, listed on the Eurolist of Euronext – Comp B, is part of SBF 120 and the Mid-100 Index, adheres to the Next Prime segment and is eligible to the Deferred Settlement System. Isin FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP.

Majority (64%) of Global Citizens Believe Death of Muammar Gaddafi Will Lead to Stability in Libya:
But Only a Third (32%) Say His Execution Was Acceptable


Clifford Young
President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs