Lopsided Support for Upping Financial Pressure on Iran
77% of Americans favor negotiations plus increased sanctions, 86% prefer pro-sanctions senator
WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- By lopsided margins supporters of both political parties overwhelmingly favor deepening sanctions against the Iranian government, regardless of current negotiations, according to a new national survey [PDF].
The Luntz Global survey of 900 likely voters was conducted Dec. 7-9, and is the first poll conducted jointly by two fast-growing websites covering news of the Middle East, the Arabic-language Al-Masdar.net and TheTower.org, which Newsweek/DailyBeast recently called "an indispensable new English-language source on Israel and the Middle East."
Probing what Americans think of the negotiations between their government and Iran, the Al-Masdar.net / TheTower.org survey found that few if any other issues unite Americans as these do. The results were consistent across demographics and political leanings. Whether they are younger Obama voters or older Romney voters, Americans want their lawmakers to insist on a non-nuclear Iran, and they want to increase sanctions to ensure those objectives are met.
Four over-arching themes emerged:
- Americans fear Iran more than they fear all the other Middle Eastern countries combined.
- Americans are universally skeptical about Iranian intentions.
- Americans want negotiations with accountability, namely, they want sanctions and financial pressure on Iran to be increased along with and independent of any talks.
- Americans reject allowing Iran to retain the ability to make nuclear fuel and develop nuclear weapons if they choose, demanding Iran's capacity be limited both before & after a deal is done.
Fully 77% of Democrats and a near unanimous 96% of Republicans would rather vote for a senator who favors sanctions, including "increased pressure on Iran until Iran accepts a final agreement that removes their ability to build nuclear weapons." Only 14% of voters would prefer a senator who wants to reduce pressure on Iran in the context of negotiations.
In fact, Americans overwhelmingly prefer upping sanctions on Iran and reject reducing pressure, with or without negotiations.
Drilling down into how Americans think negotiations should be conducted, a broad majority (77%) supported continuing to negotiate "while imposing sanctions and increase[ing] financial pressure and sanctions." Only 23% supported continuing to negotiate "while reducing sanctions and financial pressure on Iran."
Asked broadly what action the United States should take against Iran to eliminate its ability to make nuclear weapons, Americans chose "further economic sanctions and financial pressure" by huge margins (43%) over "more extensive negotiations … while reducing the current financial pressure" (19%).
Americans remain consistently wary of Iran, and consider the country the greatest menace to U.S. interests in the Middle East.
Fully half of voters (49%) picked Iran as the greatest threat to the United States, more than Iraq (15%), Pakistan (13%), Afghanistan (12%), and Syria (9%) combined. The result held across all age levels, education divisions, and partisan subgroups.
Americans also remain overwhelmingly skeptical regarding Iranian intentions.
Just 7% trust the Iranian claim that their nuclear program is exclusively peaceful, 77% who are afraid of Iran's intentions. 86% of voters – 78% among Democrats and 95% among Republicans – think Iran will break its promises during the negotiation, while only 14% say they will keep them. Only 16% believe Iran is "negotiating in good faith and will eventually give up their ability to make nuclear weapons." The vast majority (84%) think Iran is instead using negotiations "to stall as they continue to develop their ability to make nuclear weapons."
Regarding where negotiations should end up, Americans very bluntly don't want Iran to have substantial nuclear capacity now or ever. 86% overall – 81% of Democrats and 91% of Republicans – think the United States should prohibit Iran from possessing enrichment capabilities.
Speaking about the poll, Luntz said "Finally, we have found an issue of substance that both Democrats and Republicans agree on. The fear of Iranian nuclear weapons unites just about everyone."
Read more: http://www.thetower.org/iran-poll-findings/
Al-Masdar.net and TheTower.org are, respectively, Arabic-language and English-language non-profit news sites supported by TIP (The Israel Project), an educational organization based in Washington D.C. that provides facts about the Middle East to press, policy makers and the public.