Public opinion on the Iran nuclear deal provides mixed signals for the President and Congress, according to a new Zogby Analytics poll. On the deal itself, the poll asked 909 likely voters nationwide which of the statements represented their views more:
Continue present negotiations between the major powers and Iran that limits nuclear development by the United Nations over ten years and allow for the frequent inspections by the United Nations on exchanges for a gradual lifting of many sanctions currently in place. OR Stop the present negotiations and tighten the sanctions against Iran until Iran is ready to end all nuclear development, even if it means the US losing support of countries like France, Germany and Britain.
Overall the more peaceful and diplomatic approach wins by ten points 42% to 32% for the more aggressive option, with 23% not sure. It is the demographics that are fascinating, however. Men favor the diplomatic option 48% to 36% with only 11% not sure. While the gap between the options is narrower among women (36% to continue negotiations, 28% for ending them), 33% are not sure. Support for diplomacy is reduced with age. Among 18-29 year olds, support for diplomacy is 48%-27%, but 43%-29% among 30-49 year olds, 39%-35% among 50-64 year olds, and tied at 37% among those over 65. Democrats support diplomacy and negotiations 56%-17% as do independents 40%-31%, while Republican favor a more aggressive policy 49% to 28% for continued negotiations.
But that is among a war-weary American public because on the other hand, voters do not mind the US encouraging Israel doing the dirty work. We then asked the following question:
Do you mainly support or oppose the US allowing Israel striking against Iranian nuclear sites?
By a factor of 2 to 1 American voters support the allowing Israel to strike - 45% to 23%, with 32% not sure. Support is stronger among men (56%-25%) than women (36% -21%). Age groups are supportive - 44%-30% among 18-29 year olds, 42%-21% among 30-49 year olds, 49%-20% among 50-64 year olds, and 50%-22% among those over 65. Democrats support allowing Israel to strike (36%-28%), as do independents (42%-25%). But Republicans are in favor 4 to 1 - 59% to 15%.
What should we make of this? First that Americans support active diplomacy and engagement with both Iran and the major powers. They are war weary and they will take a deal to keep the US out of harm's way. But second, if there is to be a quicker military solution to end this problem, then let Israel do it. Few Americans will cry if Iran's nuclear acquisition is halted but American cannot stomach another long term military engagement.