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American Public Opinion Polls:
Opinion Toward Iran

(2010 - 2012)


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Currently there is some debate about what stance the US should take in relation to the possibility that Israel might attack Iran's nuclear program. You will see three arguments on this issue. Please select how convincing you find each of them. (University of Maryland, March 3-7, 2012; October 2, 2012)

1. The US should discourage Israel from attacking Iran's nuclear program. There are huge risks to US national interests, since Iran may attack US assets in retaliation, pulling the US into a war. Oil prices will skyrocket. Furthermore, US military leaders say the most that could be achieved would be to slow down Iran's nuclear program a bit and probably just lead them to rebuild it underground.

  March 2012 October 2012 March 2012 October 2012 March 2012 October 2012 March 2012 October 2012
 
Total
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
very convincing
17%
19%
12%
18%
26%
25%
12%
13%
somewhat convincing
54%
44%
55%
41%
58%
53%
46%
34%
somewhat unconvincing
17%
21%
22%
26%
10%
17%
20%
19%
very unconvincing
7%
12%
10%
14%
5%
5%
7%
20%
Don't know/Refused
5%
4%
--
--
--

2. The US should take a neutral stance. Israel has a right to take actions it sees as necessary for its own defense. Meanwhile, the US should think about its own interests and make a clear statement distancing itself from whatever Israel may choose to do, to reduce the chance that Iran will retaliate against US targets.

  March 2012 October 2012 March 2012 October 2012 March 2012 October 2012 March 2012 October 2012
 
Total
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
very convincing
11%
14%
10%
12%
14%
16%
8%
12%
somewhat convincing
41%
38%
39%
34%
46%
45%
37%
31%
somewhat unconvincing
30%
28%
32%
28%
30%
29%
27%
27%
very unconvincing
15%
15%
18%
22%
11%
9%
16%
17%
Don't know/Refused
4%
5%
--
--
--
--
--
--

3. The US should encourage Israel to attack Iran's nuclear program. Clearly Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, and if Israel will take the heat for stopping or at least slowing down the program, all the better for the US. The risk of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons is of greater concern than the fallout from an Israeli strike.

  March 2012 October 2012 March 2012 October 2012 March 2012 October 2012 March 2012 October 2012
 
Total
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
very convincing
8%
9%
11%
13%
7%
7%
5%
9%
somewhat convincing
30%
27%
31%
29%
24%
28%
35%
22%
somewhat unconvincing
33%
32%
34%
35%
39%
31%
23%
29%
very unconvincing
24%
25%
22%
17%
28%
32%
21%
25%
Don't know/Refused
5%
7%
--
--
--
--
--
--

So now, do you think the US should: (University of Maryland, March 3-7, 2012; October 2, 2012)

  March 2012 October 2012 March 2012 October 2012 March 2012 October 2012 March 2012 October 2012
 
Total
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
Discourage Israel from attacking Iran's nuclear program
34%
29%
30%
23%
44%
39%
24%
23%
Take a neutral stance
46%
53%
43%
51%
47%
54%
50%
53%
Encourage Israel to attack Iran's nuclear program
14%
12%
23%
20%
7%
3%
13%
14%
Don't know/refused
6%
6%
--
%
--
%
--
%

Do you think the United States should or should not proceed with a military strike on its own if Iran continues to enrich uranium, but the UN Security Council does not authorize a military strike? (Chicago Council on Global Affairs, October 1, 2012)

Should
27%
Should not
70%

Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Obama is handling Iran's Nuclear Program? (AJC, September 17, 2012)

Approve Strongly
18.8%
Approve Somewhat
41.8%
Disapprove Somewhat
19.9%
Disapprove Strongly
18.7%

How concerned are you about the prospect? (AJC, September 17, 2012)

Approve Strongly
18.8%
Approve Somewhat
41.8%
Disapprove Somewhat
19.9%
Disapprove Strongly
18.7%

How concerned are you about the prospect of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons? (AJC, April 30, 2012; September 17, 2012)

April 2012
September 2012
Very Concerned
56%
55.4%
Somewhat Concerned
33%
32.4%
Not Too Concerned
9%
10.1%
Not Concerned At All
2%
2.1%
No Response
0%
n/a

How likely do you think it is that a combination of diplomacy and sanctions can stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons? (AJC, April 30, 2012; September 17, 2012)

 
April 2012
September 2012
Very Likely
5%
7.1%
Somewhat Likely
37%
28.4%
Somewhat Unlikley
35%
37.8%
Very Unlikely
21%
26.4%
No Response
2%
n/a

If diplomacy and sanctions fail, would you support or oppose the United States taking military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons? (AJC, April 30, 2012; September 17, 2012)

 
April 2012
September 2012
Support Strongly
28%
28%
Somewhat Support
36%
36.1%
Oppose Somewhat
24%
23.9%
Oppose Strongly
10%
11.0%
No Response
2%
n/a

If diplomacy and sanctions fail, would you support or oppose Israel taking military action against Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons? (AJC, April 30, 2012; September 17, 2012)

 
April 2012
September 2012
Support Strongly
39%
37.2%
Somewhat Support
36%
35.3%
Oppose Somewhat
14%
17.7%
Oppose Strongly
11%
8.7%
No Response
1%
n/a

Do you believe that Iran is developing nuclear weapons? (ADL, October 23, 2011; The Israel Project, July 31, 2012)

 
2007
2009
2011
2012
Agree strongly
42%
64%
49%
80%
Agree total
71%
83%
80%
10%

Does Iran's nuclear program pose a very big threat, a moderate threat, not much of a threat or no threat at all to each of the following places... (The Israel Project, July 31, 2012)

 
Israel
The United States
The U.S. & its NATO Allies
Very Big Threat
60%
34%
39%
Moderate Threat
27%
41%
41%
Not Much Threat
7%
15%
12%
No Threat
3%
9%
6%

Do you favor or oppose the expansion of international economic and diplomatic sanctions against Iran if they do not stop their nuclear program? (The Israel Project)

 
October 2009
February 2010
July 2012
Favor
80%
73%
78%
Oppose
15%
19%
17%
Don't know/Refused to answer
4%
8%
--

Would you support U.S. military action against Iran if there were evidence of a nuclear weapons program? (Reuters/Ipsos, March 11, 2012)

Yes
56%
No
39%

Would you support U.S. military action against Iran if it led to higher gasoline prices? (Reuters/Ipsos, March 11, 2012)

Yes
53%
No
42%

Would you support Israeli military action against Iran if there were evidence of a nuclear weapons program? (Reuters/Ipsos, March 11, 2012)

Yes
62%

Would you support U.S. military action against Iran? (Reuters/Ipsos, March 11, 2012)

 
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
Yes
70%
46%
51%

As you may know, some people are calling for Israel to conduct a military strike against Iran's nuclear program before it makes further progress. Others are arguing that it is better to wait for the newly-increased sanctions against Iran to take effect and that the US and other major powers should continue pursuing negotiations with Iran. Do you favor: (University of Maryland, March 3-7, 2012)

 
Total
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
Israel conducting a military strike against Iran's nuclear program
24%
38%
17%
17%
The US and other major powers continuing to pursue negotiations with Iran
69%
58%
79%
67%
Don't know/Refused
7%
--
--
--

Do you think that Iran is: (University of Maryland, March 3-7, 2012)

 
Total
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
Producing nuclear fuel strictly for its energy needs
6%
2%
6%
10%
Has decided to produce nuclear weapons and is actively working to do so
58%
73%
56%
44%
Is developing some of the technical ability necessary to produce nuclear weapons, but has not decided whether to produce them
30%
24%
35%
32%
Don't know/Refused
6%
--
--
--

How likely do you think it is that Iran will eventually develop nuclear weapons? (University of Maryland, March 3-7, 2012)

 
Total
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
Very likely
49%
63%
44%
39%
Somewhat likely
40%
33%
49%
37%
Not very likely
4%
2%
4%
5%
Not likely at all
3%
0%
2%
8%
Don't know/Refused
3%
--
--
--

Suppose Iran develops nuclear weapons. Do you think that: (University of Maryland, March 3-7, 2012)

 
Total
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
Iran would be likely to use them against Israel because it is so hostile toward Israel
62%
80%
56%
50%
Iran would be deterred from striking Israel for fear of being destroyed in a nuclear retaliatory strike
32%
17%
41%
36%
Don't know/Refused
6%
--
--
--

If Iran develops nuclear weapons, which of the following concerns you the most: (University of Maryland, March 3-7, 2012)

 
Total
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
Iran would actually use nuclear weapons against the US or its allies
44%
57%
39%
35%
This would lead other countries in the region to develop nuclear arms, leading to an arms race
19%
11%
26%
18%
Iran would feel emboldened to pursue aggressive policies toward the US and its allies
24%
26%
23%
23%
None of these
9%
4%
9%
15%
Don't know/Refused
4%
--
--
--

If Iran were to develop nuclear weapons, which TWO of the following do you think is most likely to occur: (University of Maryland, March 3-7, 2012)

 
Total
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
Iran would acrually use nuclear weapons against the US or its allies
47%
61%
40%
38%
This would lead other countries in the region to develop nuclear arms, leading to an arms race
44%
45%
50%
33%
Iran would feel emboldened to pursue aggressive policies toward the US and its allies
52%
60%
54%
39%
Stability would increase, since both Iran and Israel would be deterred by the other's ability to destroy them
8%
5%
10%
10%
Not much will change in the region
15%
8%
16%
23%

In dealing with the problem of Iran's nuclear program, do you think that the US should: (University of Maryland, March 3-7, 2012)

 
Total
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
Primarily act by itself
20%
28%
11%
20%
Try to primarily act through the UN Security Council
74%
69%
86%
64%
Don't know/refused
6%
--
--
--

Suppose Israel strikes and Iran retaliates by striking back at Israel, but Iran does not attack any US targets. What do you think the US should do? (University of Maryland, March 3-7, 2012)

11
 
Total
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
Provide whatever help Israel requests, including military forces
25%
41%
16%
16%
Publicly support Israel's actions, but do not provide military support
14%
18%
15%
7%
Stay neutral and do not get involved
22%
14%
25%
29%
Stay neutral and actively work to get both sides to stop the fighting
27%
21%
34%
25%
Publicly oppose Israel's actions
2%
1%
3%
1%
Actively distance the US from Israel by stopping military aid
4%
2%
6%
6%
Don't know/refused
6%
--
--
--

As you may know, the US government has recommended that Israel not strike Iran. If Israel strikes anyway, what do you believe the US government's reaction WOULD be? (University of Maryland, March 12, 2012)

 
Total
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
It would support Israel diplomatically, but not provide military assistance
32%
35%
43%
15%
It would join the war on Israel's behalf
22%
29%
18%
20%
It would stay neutral
30%
24%
30%
37%
It would punish Israel by reducing its current support to Israel
10%
10%
9%
12%
Don't know/refused
5%
--
--
--

If Israel were to strike Iran's nuclear facilities, in your estimation, how long would an armed conflict between Iran and Israel last? (University of Maryland, March 12, 2012)

 
Total
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
days
9%
14%
8%
6%
weeks
12%
15%
11%
10%
months
26%
24%
30%
22%
years
48%
44%
51%
47%
Don't know/refused
6%
--
--
--

If Israel were to strike Iran's nuclear facilities, in your view, how would this affect the Iranian government? (University of Maryland, March 12, 2012)

 
Total
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
It would be weakened
42%
48%
41%
35%
It would be strengthened
30%
27%
35%
24%
It would have no effect
21%
22%
21%
23%
Don't know/refused
7%
--
--
--

What do you believe the likely outcome would be if Israel were to strike Iran: (University of Maryland, March 12, 2012)

 
Total
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
It would delay Iran's capabilities to develop nuclear weapons by 1-2 years
20%
21%
22%
18%
It would delay Iran's capabilities by 3-5 years
22%
33%
21%
11%
It would delay Iran's capabilities by more than 5 years
18%
19%
18%
18%
It would accelerate Iran's nuclear program
22%
15%
28%
22%
It would have no effect on Iran's nuclear program
9%
7%
9%
11%
Don't know/refused
8%
--
--
--

Is it more important to... (Pew, February 15, 2012)

Prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even if it means taking military action
58%
Avoid military conflict, even if Iran may develop nuclear weapons
30%
Other/don't know
13%

If Israel attacks Iran to stop its nuclear weapons program, what should the U.S. do? (Pew, February 15, 2012)

Support Israel's action
39%
Oppose Israel's action
5%
Stay neutral
51%
Other/don't know
13%

How likely is it that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon in the near future? (Rassmusen Reports, February 4-5, 2012)

somewhat likely
33%
very likely
50%
not very or not at all likely
11%

If Israel attacks Iran, should the United States help Israel, help Iran, or do nothing? (Rassmusen Reports, February 4-5, 2012)

help Israel
48%

Should the US be willing to use military force to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons? (Pulse Opinion Research, February 2, 2012)

Yes
49%
No
31%
Not sure
20%

How concerned are you about a terrorist attack on the US by Iran? (Pulse Opinion Research, February 2, 2012)

Very concerned
23%
Somewhat concerned
39%
Not very concerned
25%
Not at all concerned
12%
Not sure
0%

Among likely U.S. voters: Do you believe the U.S. should use military force to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons if diplomatic efforts fail? (Rassmusen Reports, November 14, 2011)

Yes
38%
No
35%

Which of the following describes your view of Iran: Iran is an immediate threat to the security of the Middle East, a threat to the security of the Middle East in the future, a potential threat further down the road, or no threat at all? (ADL, October 23, 2011)

 
2007
2009
2011
Immediate threat
26%
40%
38%
Threat in the near future
24%
23%
14%
Porential threat further down the road
30%
22%
32%
No threat at all
7%
5%
7%

Do you think that Israel should take military action to keep Iran from developing or trying to develop a nuclear weapons program ? (ADL, October 23, 2011)

 
2007
2009
2011
Yes
42%
57%
57%
No
46%
32%
31%

Do you think that the United States should take military action to keep Iran from developing or trying to develop a nuclear weapons program ? (ADL, October 23, 2011)

 
2007
2009
2011
Yes
47%
54%
50%
No
39%
34%
44%

If Iran attains nuclear weapons do you believe Iran would use them to attack Israel? (Independent Media Review Analysis, September 2011)

Yes
75.7%
No
12.8%
(DK/refused)
11.5%

If Iran attains nuclear weapons do you believe Iran would use them to attack United States military bases and ships in the Persian Gulf and Middle East? (Independent Media Review Analysis, September 2011)

Yes
69.8%
No
20.6%
(DK/refused)
9.6%

If Iran attains nuclear weapons do you believe Iran would arm terrorists who would use the nuclear weapons to attack the United States? (Independent Media Review Analysis, September 2011)

Yes
79.9%
No
12.0%
(DK/refused)
8.1%

If sanctions against Iran do not work, would you approve or disapprove of using the military to attack and destroy the facilities in Iran which are necessary to produce a nuclear weapon? (Independent Media Review Analysis, September 2011)

 
September 2011
Approve
63.5
Strongly approve
39.1
Somewhat approve
24.4
Disapprove
23.3
Somewhat disapprove
8.5
Strongly disapprove
14.8
Don't know/refused
13.2

Which country is the greatest threat to the United States? (Independent Media Review Analysis, September 2011)

 
September 2011
Iran
34.8
China
33.7
North Korea
17.6
Russia
3.9
Venezuela
1.3
Other
3.0
Don't know/refused
5.7

Which country is the second greatest threat to the United States? (Independent Media Review Analysis, September 2011)

 
September 2011
Iran
28.0
China
16.2
North Korea
29.1
Russia
8.1
Venezuela
4.6
Other
1.6
Don't know/refused
12.4

Please rate using a one to one hundred scale, where one means you have a cold/very unfavorable feeling, one hundred means you have a warm/very favorable feeling and fifty is neutral, your feelings toward Iran. (The Israel Project)

 
5/06
5/07
9/07
12/07
8/09
11/10
12/10
2/11
4/11
6/11
Total cold/unfavorable feelings
69%
71%
66%
72%
62%
75%
61%
63%
67%
70%
Total warm/favorable feelings
9%
11%
8%
8%
10%
7%
10%
8%
8%
7%

Iran is currently developing a nuclear weapon. When Iran is able to produce a nuclear weapon, how likely do you think it is that Iran would do each of the following? (McLaughlin & Associates, October 2010)

"Launch a nuclear missile attack on the United States."

Not likely
45.4%
Somewhat likely
34.3%
Very likely
15.4%
Don't know/Refused to answer
4.8%

"Launch a nuclear missile attack on Israel."

Not likely
14.8%
Somewhat likely
35.9%
Very likely
44.0%
Don't know/Refused to answer
5.3%

"Provide nuclear weapons to terrorists."

Not likely
9.2%
Somewhat likely
27.8%
Very likely
57.4%
Don't know/Refused to answer
5.5%

Would you approve or disapprove of the following proposals? (McLaughlin & Associates, October 2010)

"Using the military to attack and destroy the facilities in Iran which are necessary to produce a nuclear weapon, if sanctions do not work."

Approve
59.8%
Disapprove
29.9%
Don't know/Refused to answer
10.3%

"Allowing Israel to attack and destroy Iran's nuclear weapons program facilities, if sanctions do not work."

Approve
58.4%
Disapprove
29.5%
Don't know/Refused to answer
12.1%

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? "I am strongly opposed to the use of military force by Israel or the United States to attack Iran." (McLaughlin & Associates, October 2010)

Agree
35.9%
Disagree
52.8%
Don't know/Refused to answer
11.4%

If sanctions against Iran fail, and Israel were to attack Iran to stop them from developing a nuclear weapons, in your opinion, would this be an act of self defense, or an act of aggression? (McLaughlin & Associates, October 2010)

Self defense
63.4%
Aggression
25.7%
Don't know/Refused to answer
10.9%

If Israel were to attack Iran to stop them from developing a nuclear weapon, in your opinion, would this endanger the United States, or enhance the security of the world? (McLaughlin & Associates, October 2010)

Endanger U.S.
37.9%
Enhance world security
39.9%
Don't know/Refused to answer
22.2%

Many experts say that Iran is currently developing nuclear weapons. Can the United States be safe with a nuclear Iran? (McLaughlin & Associates, October 2010)

Yes
16.0%
No
75.7%
Don't know/Refused to answer
8.3%

President Obama is pursuing a policy of diplomacy and sanctions to stop the Iran nuclear program. Do you think this policy will succeed? (McLaughlin & Associates, October 2010)

Yes
28.0%
No
58.6%
Don't know/Refused to answer
13.4%

Do you think President Obama's policies toward Iran will stop them from getting nuclear weapons? (McLaughlin & Associates, October 2010)

Yes
12.8%
No
78.5%
Don't know/Refused to answer
8.7%

Do you think President Obama's failure to stop Iran's nuclear program would lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East? (McLaughlin & Associates, October 2010)

Yes
50.3%
No
33.8%
Don't know/Refused to answer
15.9%

How serious a threat to the United States do you view the following? "Iran will use its nuclear weapons to threaten the supply of Middle Eastern oil to the United States and its allies." (McLaughlin & Associates, October 2010)

Not a threat
9.8%
Somewhat serious threat
41.2%
Very serious threat
44.6%
Don't know/Refused to answer
4.4%

Which of the following would cause you to support a war with Iran? (60 Minutes/Vanity Fair, September 2010)

Only if Iran attacks U.S. soil
25%
If Iran attacks the U.S. fleet
25%
If Iran tests a nuclear bomb
11%
If Iran attacks Israel
10%
Nothing
24%

Is Iran an ally of the United States, an enemy of the United States or somewhere in between? (Rasmussen, August 2010)

Ally
2%
Enemy
57%
Somewhere in between
37%
Not sure
5%

Iran says that its uranium enrichment program is for developing energy. Is Iran's nuclear program to develop energy or to develop weapons? (Rasmussen, August 2010)

Develop energy
7%
Develop weapons
66%
Not sure
27%

How likely is it that Iran will soon develop nuclear weapons? (Rasmussen, August 2010)

Very likely
53%
Somewhat likely
27%
Not very likely
8%
Not at all likely
2%
Not sure
11%

If Israel attacks Iran, should the United States help Israel, help Iran, or do nothing? (Rasmussen, August 2010)

Help Israel
51%
Help Iran
2%
Do nothing
35%
Not sure
12%

Now that Iran has enriched uranium, do you believe that it will be easier for terrorist groups all over the world to acquire nuclear weapons? (The Israel Project, March 2010)

Definitely
53.0%
Possibly
26.8%
Not sure
7.7%
Unlikely
8.0%
Definitely not
2.0%
Don't know/Refused to answer
2.5%

Now that Iran has enriched uranium, do you believe they will pursue their threat to "wipe Israel off the map?" (The Israel Project, March 2010)

Definitely
33.5%
Possibly
30.5%
Not sure
14.8%
Unlikely
11.2%
Definitely not
5.0%
Don't know/Refused to answer
5.0%

Which statement comes closer to your own opinion... (The Israel Project)

 
October 2008
January 2009
August 2009
December 2009
February 2010
With all the problems that America is facing at home now, we should reduce our efforts to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
23%
18%
13%
19%
24%
Even with all the problems that American faces at home now, we must still work hard to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
72%
79%
84%
78%
69%
Don't know/Refused to answer
4%
3%
3%
4%
4%

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