Poll: Majority of Americans Back Nuke Deal

March 3, 2015

Americans broadly support direct negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program, according to a new poll by CNN and ORC International. But they are split across party lines regarding the open letter to Iran’s leaders signed by 47 Republican senators. The letter warned that a nuclear deal signed during President Barack Obama’s tenure could be revoked by the next president or modified by a future Congress. The following are key results from the survey.

•68 percent of Americans support direct negotiations, including 77 percent of Democrats, 65 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of independents
 
•29 percent oppose direct negotiations
 
• 49 percent say the letter sent by 47 Republican senators to Iran’s leaders went too far, including 67 percent of Democrats and 47 percent of independents
 
•39 percent say the GOP letter was an appropriate response to the way negotiations were going, including 52 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of independents
 
• 18 percent think the GOP letter helped U.S. efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons while 32 percent think the letter hurt those efforts
 
• 44 percent say the letter had no impact on negotiations
 
The poll, conducted March 13-15, included phone interviews with 1,009 Americans.
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The majority of Americans favor a potential nuclear deal with Iran, according to a new survey by Shibley Telhami and Steven Kull in the Program for Public Consultation and the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland. More than 60 percent of respondents support a deal that would limit Iran’s enrichment capacity and impose inspections in exchange for lifting some sanctions. The poll was conducted Feb. 19-25, 2015, with a sample of 710 adults.The following are excerpted key findings from the poll.

"In this survey a representative sample of Americans were presented the two primary options that have dominated this debate:
 
· For the US to continue to pursue an agreement that would accept some enrichment by Iran, but with substantial limits that would preclude Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, and intrusive inspections to ensure those limits are met, in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions.
 
· For the US to not accept any Iranian enrichment. Instead, the US would continue trying to get other nations to impose new economic sanctions in an effort to persuade Iran to cease enrichment completely.
 
While majorities found arguments for both options at least somewhat convincing, when asked to make their final recommendation, a clear majority of 61% recommended making a deal with Iran that would include a limited enrichment capacity for Iran. This included 61% of Republicans, 66% of Democrats and 54% of independents. The alternative of increasing sanctions in an effort to get Iran to stop all uranium enrichment was endorsed by 36%."
 
"Majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents all made this same judgment. Republicans chose continuing negotiations by 61 to 35%, while Democrats favored it by 66 to 32%. A relatively more modest majority of Independents favored a deal by 54 to 42%.
 
This response was essentially the same as when PPC took respondents through the exact same process and found 61% favored a deal and 35% favored pursuing sanctions. Partisan variations were not significantly different. In the current survey, among the 9% of the sample who identified themselves as very sympathetic to the Tea Party, a plurality of 46% favored pursuing a deal with 41% opposed. Those somewhat sympathetic to the Tea Party were no different from the sample as a whole.
 
Among those who watch Fox News daily (13% of sample) views were divided, rising to 55% in favor of a deal for those who watch it 2-3 times a week. There was no significant effect for watching MSNBC.
 
The strongest effect was among those who watch a Christian news network at least 2-3 times a week or more. Among this group only 26% favored a deal while 58% favored pursuing sanctions.
 
Respondents were also asked what they thought the effect of making a deal would have on the fight against the Islamic State. A majority of 63% said it would make no difference, but more (23%) said it would help, than said it would hurt (13%). Partisan differences were insignificant.
 
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