April 20, 2012

Concern That the U.S. Will Wait Too Long to Intervene in Iran

54%

A majority (54%) of Americans say they are more concerned that the U.S. will take too long to act in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program than are concerned it will act too quickly.

More Americans (54%) say they are more concerned that the U.S. will take too long to act in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program than say they are concerned that it will act too quickly (35%), according to a poll conducted March 7-11. This is similar to public opinion in 2006 and 2007.

This view is consistent with a February 2012 survey. In it, 58% of the public supported preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons even if it means taking military action. A smaller share — 30% — voiced the opposite view, expressing a preference for preventing military conflict even if a consequence is Iran developing nuclear weapons.

There is a strong partisan divide in the U.S. on how best to deal with Iran’s nuclear program. Democrats are essentially divided — 44% express concern that the U.S. will act too quickly while 42% are more concerned the U.S. will wait too long. Republicans are less so — 75% express concern that the U.S. will take too long to act, while just 17% say their greater concern is that the U.S. will act too quickly. Among Republicans, 81% of conservatives and 64% of moderate and liberal Republicans hold the former view. By a 52% to 37% margin, independents hold the latter.

This partisan divide extends to views on Obama’s handling of Iran. Just under half (47%) of the public approves of his conduct, while 40% disapprove. Republicans are far more negative – they disapprove by a 66% to 23% margin. On the other hand, 70% of Democrats approve of Obama’s handling of the issue. Independents are almost evenly divided. Read More