December 8, 2013
Tracking Public Opinion on Iran
Opinions on the interim agreement
American public opinion- The recent interim agreement with Iran was clearly met with a generally positive reaction by the both the American press and the American public. Here are some figures from the latest polls which asked Americans about their attitude towards the recent agreement -
1 The poll was conducted by Hart Research ("The Democratic Half of the NBC/WSJ poll") for the Liberal organization 'Americans for Chance'.
* Taken before the interim deal was signed.
As we can see, while there are some differences between the four polls (the questions were presented slightly differently), they all show that the American public's attitude toward the interim agreement is, on the whole, quite favorable.
Israeli public opinion- It seems fairly clear that Israelis are generally more skeptical and hostile than Americans toward the Iran deal.
A new poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) after the agreement was signed asked Israelis whether the deal "will indeed lead to the cessation of Iran’s nuclear weapons program". An overwhelming 77% of the Israeli population said that it would not. Here are the full results-
In the same poll, Israelis were asked to rank Benjamin Netanyhu's handling of this issue from 1 to 10. Around 55% of the General Public gave him scores between 7 and 10 (less than 20% gave him scores below 5), showing that the majority of Israelis seem to generally support Netanyahu's Hawkish stance towards Iran's nuclear program.
Right before the deal was signed (11/20), Panels Politics' Menachem Lazar asked Israelis more directly whether they believe that the deal was good or bad for Israel. These were the results-
Attitudes on attacking Iran
American public opinion on a US Attack- The Reuters/Ipsos poll also asked Americans, 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)?
The results were as follows:
These results, coupled with the fact that this question hasn't been asked too often in recent months, might be a testament to how the US military option is virtually not part of US public discourse at this point in time.
American public opinion on an Israeli attack on Iran- The Reuters/Ipsos poll also asked Americans how they would react in case of an Israeli attack 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% would not.
Israeli opinion on an Israeli attack- a recent Israel Hayom/New Wave poll asked Israelis whether they agree with Benjamin Netanyahu's statement that "Israel should face Iran alone, if necessary". Here are the results-
General 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.
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.