'64% of Americans want military action to stop Iran'

Pew Research poll also finds 49% of Americans sympathize with Israel more than Palestinians, while only 12% said reverse.

March 25, 2013 04:16
1 minute read.
A general view of the Arak heavy-water project, 190 km southwest of Tehran January 15, 2011.

Arak plant, Iran 370. (photo credit: Reuters)


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WASHINGTON – A majority of Americans supports Israel and using military force against Iran if necessary to keep it from acquiring nuclear arms, according to a recent Pew poll.

The poll found 64% of Americans favor stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons even if means resorting to using force, while only 25% preferred avoiding military conflict if it meant Iran would get a nuclear weapons.

Republicans were the strongest supporters of retaining the possibility of using of force, with 80% preferring that option. Democrats supported that position by 62% to 25% and Independents by 59% to 32%.

There was also a sharp partisan divide on the question of favoring Israel over the Palestinians. Sixty-six percent of Republicans said they sympathized with Israel more in comparison to 49% of Independents and 39% of Democrats. Overall, 49% of Americans said they sympathize more with Israelis and just 12% say they sympathize more with Palestinians.

The Democratic number was a slight drop from a similar poll cited by Pew that was conducted in 1978, but the shift among Republicans was much more extreme. While the 1978 poll found that 44% of Democrats considered themselves more sympathetic to Israel, only 49% of Republicans at that time agreed.

In addition to the party divide, Americans also split on sympathy towards Israel by age and religion. Only 36% of Americans aged 18-29 considered themselves more sympathetic to Israel in comparison to 59% of those 50-64, the age bracket most supportive of Israel.

Some 46% of Catholics said they sympathized more with Israel while 56% of Protestants said the same. Among Protestants, 72% of white evangelicals but just 37% of white mainline adherents agreed with the position.

In no demographic category, however, did sympathy for Palestinians outweigh sympathy for Israel, and in only one did sympathy for Palestinians rise to more than half the number sympathetic to Israel, with 19% of those aged 18-29 sympathizing with Palestinians more as opposed to the 36% that sympathized more with Israelis.

The poll, which was conducted ahead of US President Barack Obama’s trip to Israel last month, surveyed 1,501 adults.

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