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Polls: Most in U.S. see Iran as threat; majority of Israelis against Iran strike

JTA

March 1, 2012 | 5:53 pm

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on July 6, 2010. Photo by REUTERS/Jim Young/Files

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on July 6, 2010. Photo by REUTERS/Jim Young/Files

A poll showed 87 percent of registered American voters believe that Iran’s suspected illegal nuclear weapons program is a threat to the United States.

The poll commissioned by The Israel Project also found that 88 percent of respondents believed that Iran is a threat to Israel.

In addition, three-quarters of the poll’s respondents viewed Iran in a negative light and 82 percent of supporters backed sanctions to stop what Israel, the United States and many Western countries believe to be Iran’s nuclear program. Iran insists the program is for civilian purposes, although it has steadfastly resisted transparency. 

Pollster Neil Newhouse, who oversaw the survey, said “it is clear that Americans see Iran as a threat to the West.”

“The overwhelming support for sanctions is a strong indication that voters believe the U.S. must take an active role in confronting this challenge,” he said.

[Rosner’s Domain: There’s a new Israel-US survey, but don’t be fooled by the headlines]

The poll also showed that a majority of American voters continue to view Israel favorably, with 56 percent of respondents having warm feelings for the Jewish state.

Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research conducted the poll on Feb. 26-28; it has a margin of error of 3.46 percent.

A separate poll conducted by the University of Maryland found that Israelis were wary of a potential airstrike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

According to the poll, only 19 percent of Israelis favored a unilateral action by the Israel Defense Forces, while 42 percent supported a strike only if there was U.S. backing. The same poll found that 34 percent of respondents were opposed to an airstrike.

Shibley Telhami, the Sadat chair for peace and development at Maryland, conducted the poll and said in a news release that “Israeli leaders may decide to strike without U.S. support, but a detailed analysis of the poll suggests that their public wants them to follow Washington’s lead, and Israelis appear to be influenced by America’s judgment.”

The poll was conducted by Israel’s Dahaf Institute on Feb. 22-28 and has a margin of error of 4 percent.

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