American public opposes Israel striking Iran: poll

Mar 13, 2012

Only one in four Americans favors Israel conducting a military strike against Iran's nuclear program, finds a new University of Maryland poll. Nearly seven in ten (69 percent) favor the United States and other major powers continuing to pursue negotiations with Iran, a position supported by majorities of Republicans (58 percent), Democrats (79 percent) and Independents (67 percent).

Consistent with this emphasis on a diplomatic approach, three in four Americans say that the United States should primarily act through the U.N. Security Council rather than by itself in dealing with the problem of Iran's nuclear program.

The University of Maryland Sadat Chair for Peace and Development and PIPA, the University of Maryland-affiliated Program on International Policy Attitudes, conducted the study. The polling project was directed by Steven Kull, PIPA director, and Shibley Telhami, UMD Anwar Sadat Professor.

The poll of 727 Americans has a margin of error of +/-4.5% and was fielded between March 3 and 7 by .

IF ISRAEL ACTS?

If Israel goes ahead with a military strike against Iran's nuclear program and Iran retaliates - but not against American targets - only 25 percent favor the United States providing military forces should Israel request them (though support is a bit higher among Republicans at 41 percent). Another 14 percent favors the United States providing diplomatic support only.

The most popular position is for the United States to take a neutral stance, which is supported by 49 percent. This figure includes 27 percent who would also favor active efforts to end the hostilities and 22 percent who think the United States should simply not get involved.

Asked to predict what the U.S. government would actually do if Israel strikes, a slight majority (54 percent) thinks that the United States would at least provide diplomatic support. This figure includes 32 percent who think that it would join the conflict militarily.

Only 14 percent of indicate the United States should encourage Israel to strike Iran's program, but views are mixed as to whether it should openly discourage Israel or stay neutral.

EFFECTIVENESS OF A PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE

"One of the reasons Americans are so cool toward the idea of Israel attacking Iran's nuclear program is that most believe that it is not likely to produce much benefit," says the poll's co-director Steven Kull, who directs PIPA.

Only 18 percent believe that a military strike would delay Iran's abilities to develop a nuclear weapon for more than five years. A majority believes that a strike would delay Iran just one or two years (20 percent), will have no effect (nine percent), or will even have the effect of accelerating Iran's program (22 percent). One in five believes that it would delay Iran's program between three and five years.

"Interestingly, these results are barely different from the view of Israelis who were asked the same question in a February poll I conducted there," adds poll co-director Shibley Telhami, the UMD Sadat Chair. See Israeli poll (fielded by the Dahaf Insitute) details here: http://ter.ps/gn.

In the current study, less than half (42 percent) believe that a strike would weaken the Iranian government - again, Israelis were similar, with 45 percent holding this view.

Also, few Americans believe that a strike will involve a short exchange. Rather, a large majority believes an Israeli strike would lead to an armed conflict between Israel and Iran that would last months (26 percent) or even years (48 percent). A small number have the more optimistic view that it would last just weeks (12 percent) or days (9 percent).

When asked similar questions in February, Israelis were a bit more optimistic, but still only a minority believed that a conflict would last weeks (19 percent) or days (18 percent).

IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRESS

Americans' reluctance to support a military strike does not appear to arise from a sanguine attitude about Iran's . Americans show substantial pessimism about Iran and its nuclear progress.

Most Americans (58 percent) believe that Iran has decided to try producing , and is actively working to do so. Only 30 percent agree with the view of U.S. intelligence services: "that Iran is developing some of the technical ability necessary to produce nuclear weapons, but has not decided whether to produce them." Even fewer (six percent) believe Iran's stated position that it is producing nuclear fuel strictly for its energy needs.

As for long-term prospects, nine in ten believe it at least somewhat likely that Iran will eventually develop nuclear weapons. If Iran succeeded in developing nuclear weapons, 62 percent believe it likely these would be use against Israel, while just 32 percent believe that Iran would be deterred for fear of being destroyed in a retaliatory strike.

If Iran develops nuclear weapons the largest concerns are that Iran would either use nuclear weapons (44 percent) or that Iran would feel emboldened to pursue aggressive policies toward the and its allies (24 percent). A lesser concern (19 percent) is that it would engender a nuclear arms race in the region.

Explore further: Disadvantaged men more likely to do 'women's work' reveals new study

More information: This study was conducted using the web-enabled KnowledgePanel, a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population. Initially, participants are chosen scientifically by a random selection of telephone numbers and residential addresses. Persons in selected households are then invited by telephone or by mail to participate in the web-enabled KnowledgePanel®. For those who agree to participate, but do not already have Internet access, Knowledge Networks provides a laptop and ISP connection. Spanish only speakers are provided with Spanish questionnaires. Additional technical information is available at www.knowledgenetworks.com/ganp/reviewer-info.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Iran claims computer worm is Western plot

Oct 05, 2010

(AP) -- Iran claimed Tuesday that a computer worm found on the laptops of several employees at the country's nuclear power plant is part of a covert Western plot to derail its nuclear program.

Iran to unveil new home-built satellite: report

Dec 24, 2009

Iran will unveil a new home-built satellite in February, a newspaper reported Thursday, amid Western concerns that Tehran is using its nuclear and space industries to develop atomic and ballistic weapons.

Top Iran nuke envoy blames US for cyberattack

Jan 17, 2011

Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili blamed the United States for a cyberattack on what he insisted is a nuclear energy -- not weapons -- program, in an interview broadcast Monday.

Recommended for you

The psychology of gift-giving and receiving

11 hours ago

Gift exchanges can reveal how people think about others, what they value and enjoy, and how they build and maintain relationships. Researchers are exploring various aspects of gift-giving and receiving, such as how givers ...

Strong neighborhood ties can help reduce gun violence

13 hours ago

The bonds that tie a neighborhood together can help shield community members from gun violence, according to new findings by Yale School of Medicine researchers in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical ...

User comments : 14

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rwinners
2 / 5 (4) Mar 13, 2012
If "negotiate" means talk and sanctions, I'm for it.

Howsoever (is that a word), Iran must not be allowed to reach the point of manufacturing nuclear weapons. Pakistan is bad enough. Iran would make we want run and hide in Alaska... or some other remote place. Those wild eyed mullahs make me nervous.
On that thought, I wonder just how many "mullah's" Iran has.
Modernmystic
3.8 / 5 (6) Mar 13, 2012
An evil man will tell you what he's going to do if you but listen to him. Hitler made no bones about Austria or Poland. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made no bones about Israel.

Play the part of Chamberlain all you want...you're just as wrong as he was.
Jonseer
1 / 5 (6) Mar 13, 2012
An evil man will tell you what he's going to do if you but listen to him. Hitler made no bones about Austria or Poland. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made no bones about Israel.


And a stupid man thinks his ASSUMPTIONS are reality.

Exactly WHAT has he said he'd/Iran would do in regards to Israel.

He and the powers that be in Iran HAVE SAID Israel should not exist, just like the leaders of ALL the Middle East nations.

Saying that is NOT the same thing as saying Iran will Destroy Israel.
Modernmystic
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 13, 2012
An evil man will tell you what he's going to do if you but listen to him. Hitler made no bones about Austria or Poland. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made no bones about Israel.


And a stupid man thinks his ASSUMPTIONS are reality.

Exactly WHAT has he said he'd/Iran would do in regards to Israel.

He and the powers that be in Iran HAVE SAID Israel should not exist, just like the leaders of ALL the Middle East nations.

Saying that is NOT the same thing as saying Iran will Destroy Israel.


To paraphrase "Joker" in Full Metal Jacket...Hello Neville Chamberlain...is this me?
Vendicar_Decarian
0.4 / 5 (39) Mar 14, 2012
Isn't Iran a sovereign, and peaceful nation that has every right to create nuclear weapons if they wish?

By what moral or legal authority do you base your ultimatum?

"Howsoever (is that a word), Iran must not be allowed to reach the point of manufacturing nuclear weapons." - rwinners

Viva Iran.

dogbert
2 / 5 (4) Mar 14, 2012
If Iran succeeds in developing nuclear weapons and if it succeeds in developing effective delivery systems, Iran will deploy nuclear weapons against its perceived enemies.

Plans should be based on realistic assessment.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.4 / 5 (39) Mar 14, 2012
He is correct. Israel shouldn't exist.

"He and the powers that be in Iran HAVE SAID Israel should not exist, just like the leaders of ALL the Middle East nations." - Jonseer
Vendicar_Decarian
0.4 / 5 (39) Mar 14, 2012
Did you use a fortune cookie to predict that future or did you use a crystal ball?

And what evidence do you have that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon? Certainly the experts who are inspecting Iran have claimed that there is no evidence.

"Iran will deploy nuclear weapons against its perceived enemies." - DogberTard

Poor DogberTard. Like all Conservative, he is so easily controlled through fear.
Vendicar_Decarian
0.4 / 5 (39) Mar 14, 2012
"Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made no bones about Israel." - Modern

The only threats Iran has made against Israel are those in the confused minds of western alarmists.
dogbert
2 / 5 (4) Mar 14, 2012
Vendicar_Decarian,
He is correct. Israel shouldn't exist.


Notice Vendi's genocidal pronouncement.
Vendicar_Decarian
0 / 5 (35) Mar 14, 2012
"Notice Vendi's genocidal pronouncement." - DogberTard

No I didn't notice it. Why don't you quote it for us, Tard Boy?
Callippo
1 / 5 (2) Mar 14, 2012
Iranian FM denies wanting to 'wipe Israel off the map'",. Iran's foreign minister denied on Monday that Tehran wanted to see Israel "wiped off the map," saying President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been misunderstood.

"Nobody can remove a country from the map. This is a misunderstanding in Europe of what our president mentioned," Manouchehr Mottaki told a news conference, speaking in English, after addressing the European Parliament.

"How is it possible to remove a country from the map? He is talking about the regime. We do not legally recognize this regime," he said.
Callippo
1 / 5 (2) Mar 14, 2012
Russia and China are probable allies of Iran http://www.zerohe...orld-war I'd support a collective attack against every country, which will attack first in this region. It's essentially the policy of mutual deterrence, which kept the world stable for years.

Anyway, many activities of Iran are strange, in particular its tendency to produce highly enriched uranium. For example, our country produces many gigawatts of nuclear energy and exports it successfully, but we are using ten-times less enriched uranium without problem. If Iran wants to build its own nuclear energetics, why he did choose just the most problematic way?
Callippo
1 / 5 (1) Mar 14, 2012
Isn't Iran a sovereign, and peaceful nation that has every right to create nuclear weapons if they wish?
It's difficult to judge. For example, we could avoid the WWW II, if Nazi Germany would face the collective resistance or even preventive strike at time instead of various alliances (Ribbentrop pack, Munich Agreement). But what Iran could get, if it would attack the Israel? Its stance is apparently defensive.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.