The Numbers Crunch: Americans split on Iran strike

PRC poll finds 50% of Americans would have US stay neutral in event of Israeli attack.

February 24, 2012 12:46
3 minute read.
The Numbers Crunch

Numbers Crunch 311. (photo credit: Mrkay Design)


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The Iranian nuclear threat stayed firmly in the headlines this week, flooding the most-read stories on, and generating hundreds of comments on the talkback forums. The issue was also making news in the US, where it took up 12 percent of coverage last week, according to the Pew Research Center.

Reports and statements on the Iranian nuclear program and related tensions made up four of the five top stories on in the past week. The fifth was a tragic bus accident in the West Bank in which seven children and a teacher were killed.

JPost Top Five most-read stories:

1. Report: Iranian warships arrive at Syrian port
2. Hague warns Israel a strike on Iran wouldn't be wise
3. Barak on Iran: We'll do what we need to do
4. Eight killed, 36 injured in school bus accident
5. US: Iran 'not close' to abandoning nuclear program

On the talkback forums, however, it was a clean sweep. All five of the most-active threads centered on comments and reports on the issue.

JPost Top Five most-active threads:

1. Hague warns Israel a strike on Iran wouldn't be wise
2. Dempsey: Israeli strike on Iran would not be prudent
3. Iran: Any of Israel's enemies may be behind attacks
4. 'Iranian warships arrive at Syrian port'
5. Top White House official arrives for talks on Iran

Also this week, the PRC looked at American views on an Israeli strike on Iran. The results of the phone survey showed that while half of Americans would want the US to stay neutral if Israel were to attack Iran, 39 percent would want the US to support such an operation. A further 5% said they would have the US oppose an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Looking to the domestic politics of the issue, the poll found Republicans far more likely to back a military option; most Republicans would have the US support an Israeli strike, compared to a third of both Democrats and independents.

The poll also found that more women than men back the neutrality path on an Israeli strike, and more young people than older Americans.

Staying in the region, ongoing violence in Syria was the second most-covered story in the US this week, taking up 12% of the newshole according to the PRC’s News Coverage Index. By way of comparison, stories on the US presidential race came in at 22%, and on the economy at 10%.

Moving to Israel’s southern neighbor Egypt, JPost readers had strong opinions on US aid to that country. In a quick vote taken last week, almost 50% of some 4,000 respondents said that the annual traditional $1.3 billion in military assistance should be conditional on honoring peace agreements with Israel. A further 36% answered that the US should not be supporting a regime which clamps down on NGOs fighting for democracy.

Lastly, the story of Palestinian administrative detainee Khader Adnan, who ended his hunger strike after 66 days on Tuesday, was the top trending topic on Twitter in Israel. This screenshot from Trendsmap shows only the greater Jerusalem area, though the #khaderadnan tag was visible across the region.

From news sites to blogs, tweets to videos, The Numbers Crunch is a weekly column which zooms out and brings you the big picture online, from Israel, the Middle East and around the world, and poll results from

The writer is the Internet desk manager at The Jerusalem Post.

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