Poll: Only 5% in US oppose Israeli strike on Iran

Pew Research Center finds 51% of Americans think US should stay neutral over Israel military action to sop Iranian nuclear weapons.

February 16, 2012 23:56
2 minute read.
IAF F-15s refueling midflight [file]

IAF F-15s refueling midflight 390 (R). (photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)

Only five percent of Americans believe Washington should oppose Israeli military action to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons and a majority are cynical about the prospects of sanctions preventing Tehran's drive toward becoming a nuclear power, a Pew Research Center poll conducted last week found and released Thursday.

Asked where Washington should stand if Israel were to attack Iran in order to stop its nuclear weapons program, 51 percent of those polled said the US should stay neutral over an Israeli attack but 39% of those polled said Washington should support a military strike by Jerusalem.

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Broken down along party lines, Republican support for an Israeli strike was clearly stronger than Democrats and independent voters. A strong 62% majority of Republicans said Washington should support Israeli military action, while only one-third of Democrats and independents answered similarly.

Although the answers about support for an Israeli strike varied when broken down by the gender, education, political affiliation and religion, one consistent position was that very few think the US should oppose Israeli action. In total, only five percent of Americans oppose such a move.

Put into the context of whether military action will be required to stop Iranian nuclear proliferation, a majority of Americans do not believe that increased sanctions against Tehran will work. That belief was held by Republicans, Democrats and independents, although Republicans were most cynical of sanctions deterring Iranian from developing nuclear weapons, the survey found.

Asked whether Iran should be prevented from developing nuclear weapons, even if doing so requires military action against the Islamic Republic, a majority of those polled answered affirmatively.

Nearly two thirds of Republicans said it was more important to stop Tehran's nuclear proliferation even at the cost of war, while a mere 16 percent said it was more important to avoid military conflict even if that resulted in a nuclear-armed Iran. Half of Democrats answered that it was more important to stop a nuclear Iran, while 38% said priority should be placed on avoiding military conflict.

Including independent voters, the poll found that 58% of the United States public over the age of 18 thought it was more important to prevent Iranian proliferation.

The poll was conducted by telephone among a sample of 1,501 Americans over the age of 18, living in all states.

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