Jewish Journal


May 10, 2012

Tracking Public Opinion on Iran


Recent News (Updated 10/27/2013)

US Attack on Iran

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll asked, for the first time in a while, a question about a US attack in Iran (following the new interim deal)-

If this deal fails, should the US... (continue diplomatic efforts, increase sanctions, or use military force)?

Only 20% answered that the US should use military force. 49% thought that it should increase sanctions, and 31% believe that it should resume diplomatic efforts.

When it comes to the interim agreement itself, 44% said they support the deal, while only 22% oppose it. Two other polls taken before the agreement was signed, one by ABC/Washington Post and the other by CNN/ORC, both showed strong levels of support (64% and 56%) for an agreement (The difference between the two polls is discussed here).

A recent AJC poll (October 2013) which examined the opinions of US Jews on the matter found that 52% percent of American Jews favor an attack on Iran in case diplomatic efforts do not succeed (24% strongly; 28% somewhat), a sharp decline from last year's figures (64.1% in favor- 36% somewhat and 28% strongly).

US/Israeli Support for an Israeli Attack

The Reuters/Ipsos poll also asked Americans the following question about a possible Israeli strike on Iran-

If Israel were to launch military strikes on Iran to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, would you approve or disapprove this action?

In total, 40% would approve the strike (including 25% who would approve the strike even if the US government would not support it) while 20% did not.

A March 2013 poll, conducted by CNN/ORC, asked the American public the following question:

"If Israel were to attack Iran to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, then what should the United States do? Should the United States support Israel's military action, or should the United States not get involved?"
49% of the respondents were for supporting Israel and 49% were against it (for 'not getting involved').
Among American Jews, support for an Israeli attack on Iran (if necessary)  is quite unequivocal- according to the AJC poll 67% of American Jews would support an Israeli attack on Iran, should diplomacy not end its suspected nuclear weapons program.
When it comes to the Israeli public, a recent Israel Hayom/New Wave poll finds that about two thirds of Israelis agree with Benjamin Netanyahu's statement that "Israel should face Iran alone, if necessary". 66% of the respondents agreed, 22% disagreed and the remaining 13% were not sure.

Attitudes toward Iran

A September Gallup poll asked Americans whether they consider Iran as an ally, friendly but not an ally, unfriendly, or an enemy to the US. 83% of the respondents said that Iran was unfriendly/Enemy, while 10% answered friend/ally. 

A Gallup poll conducted this February shows that the vast majority (83%) of Americans believe that Iran's nuclear program is 'a critical threat to the vital interests of the United States'. Iran also finished last in Gallup's 'country favorability ranking' compiled on the same dates: a whopping 87% of Americans have an 'unfavorable' attitude towards Iran while only 9% view the country favorably.

A fascinating comprehensive survey conducted by James Zogby in 20 Arab countries (Published late February 2013) points out 'a growing antipathy toward Iran across the Arab World and among Iran’s non-Arab neighbors'. The survey shows that Iran is currently viewed unfavorably in 14 of the 20 Arab countries covered in the study; that only 3 of the 20 countries view Iran as a 'good role model to follow';and that majorities in 16 of the 20 countries agree that Iran is contributing to a sectarian division in the Arab world. Definitely worth a look.  

Iranian Attitudes

An interesting Gallup poll (published in November) shows that an overwhelming 85% majority of Iranians feel that the sanctions have effected their livelihoods (50% said it effected them 'a great deal', 35% said somewhat). Another very interesting observation from that same poll (based on results from June)- 

Iranians hold the U.S. chiefly responsible for the sanctions, with nearly half of Iranians (46%) pinning these sanctions on the U.S. Another 13% consider their own government most responsible, followed by 9% who blame Israel, and 6% each who blame Western European countries and the United Nations. 

A May-June Gallup survey asked Iranians whether they approve of Iran 'developing its own nuclear power capabilities for military use'. 41% disapproved, 34% approved and 25% answered with a 'don't know/refuse to answer'.

In February Gallup published the results of an intriguing poll tracking the Iranian public's attitude toward the severe international sanctions imposed on Iran by the international community. According to the poll (conducted between mid-December and mid-January), '48% say sanctions have affected their own personal livelihoods a great deal and another 35% say somewhat'. When asked who is most responsible for the sanctions, only 10% answered 'the Iranian Government' while 47% blamed the US.

US Public Opinion- Attack or no attack?



Question Poll Date Attack No Attack
Would you favor or oppose the United States taking military action against Iran in order to prevent them from producing a nuclear weapon? NYT/CBS June 2013 58 37
"In your opinion, which is more important: to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even if it means taking military action, OR to avoid a military conflict with Iran, even if it means they may develop nuclear weapons?" PEW



64 25
In a dispute over Iran’s nuclear program, what’s more important - take a firm stand (placed in 'Attack' column) or avoid military conflict with Iran? PEW October 2012 56 35
Would you support the United States of America participating in a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear enrichment program? IPSOS October 2012 59 41
Regarding the possibility of Iranian nuclear weapons, in your opinion, which is more important: Preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons, even if it means taking U.S. military action to do so, or avoiding military conflict with Iran, even if that means they could develop nuclear weapons? Foreign Policy Initiative September 2012 62 23
In your opinion, which is more important - preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even if it means taking military action OR avoiding a military conflict with Iran, even if it means they may develop nuclear weapons? PEW May 2012 63 28


Click here for the full table


Attack, diplomacy or no attack?


Question Poll Date Attack Diplomacy No Attack
Do you think it’s a better idea to attack Iran soon, before its nuclear program progresses any further, even if that means not waiting to see if economic sanctions work; or a better idea to see first if economic sanctions against Iran work, even if that allows more time for its nuclear program to progress? ABC News/Washington Post Poll March 7-10, 2012 26 64 4
If Iran continues with its nuclear research and is close to developing a nuclear weapon, which ONE statement best describes what you think? The U.S. should take direct military action to destroy Iran’s ability to make a nuclear weapon. The U.S. should take no direct military action to destroy Iran’s ability to make a nuclear weapon but should support Israel if it takes military action The U.S. should take stronger diplomatic and economic action to put pressure on Iran but should take no military action. The U.S. should take no action unless Iran attacks the U.S. or its allies. CNN/ORC Poll Feb. 10-13, 2012 17 60 22
“What do you think the United States should do to get Iran to shut down its nuclear program: take military action against Iran now, use economic and diplomatic efforts but not take military action right now, or take no action against Iran at this time? CNN/ORC Poll Nov. 2011 16 65 17

Click here for the full table

More from the J-Meter

JewishJournal.com is produced by TRIBE Media Corp., a non-profit media company whose mission is to inform, connect and enlighten community
through independent journalism. TRIBE Media produces the 150,000-reader print weekly Jewish Journal in Los Angeles – the largest Jewish print
weekly in the West – and the monthly glossy Tribe magazine (TribeJournal.com). Please support us by clicking here.

© Copyright 2016 Tribe Media Corp.
All rights reserved. JewishJournal.com is hosted by Nexcess.net
Web Design & Development by Hop Studios 0.2234 / 49