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Is Nuclear Iran a ‘Weak Spot’ for Obama With the American Public?

by Shmuel Rosner

January 22, 2012 | 12:30 pm

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting the nuclear facility at Natanz. (Photo: Reuters)


A Washington Post-ABC News poll gave some analysts the impression that President Obama has a public opinion problem with Iran. “Obama’s Republican challengers see an opening and have already drawn parallels between weakness in the U.S. economy and Obama’s positioning with Iran”, Scott Clement reminded readers, as he was raising the possibility that Iran can be “a classic sleeper issue” that will be damaging to Obama come November.

It is an interesting suggestion, but basing it on one question in one survey can be problematic. Examining two recent polls, the one mentioned above and the even more recent PEW survey, gives one the impression that a lot depends on the way the question on Iran is framed. Take a look:

Approve

Disprove

Don’t know

WP question: “Iran’s potential for nuclear weapons”

33

48

19

PEW question: “Dealing with Iran”

48

41

11


In fact, as one can learn from looking at the four recent PEW surveys in which the question on Iran was asked, Obama today seems a little bit stronger on Iran than he was earlier in this term:

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