US Public Opinion on Iran Deal

September 14, 2015

Polls have differed in their findings regarding public opinion on the Iran nuclear deal. Many surveys conducted soon after the July 14 announcement of an agreement found that a majority of Americans supported the deal. But since then they have varied widely. This is a compilation of major polls.

Gallup
 
A poll conducted February 3-7 showed that 30 percent of Americans approved of the nuclear deal while 57 percent disapproved. Approval varied significantly by party affiliation. Only 9 percent of Republicans approved of the deal, compared with 30 percent of independents and 51 percent of Democrats. 
 
 
The poll, conducted February 3-7, had a sample size of 1,021 adults.
 
Click here for more information.

 

CNN / ORC International Poll
 
A poll conducted September 4-8 found that some 49 percent of Americans thought Congress should reject the deal. But the results also showed that support for the deal was up six percent compared to August, when the same questions were posed to random sample. In September, some 47 percent of respondents thought Congress should approve the agreement and four percent had no opinion.
 
As you may know, the U.S. Congress must approve the agreement the United States and five other countries reached with Iran that is aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons before it can take effect. Do you think Congress should approve or reject the deal with Iran?
 
 
Sept. 4-8
Aug. 13-16*
July 22-25
Approve
47
41
44
Reject
49
56
52
No opinion
4
2
5
*Asked of half sample
 
 
 
 
Suppose such an agreement is approved and Iran violates its terms. If that happens, do you think the United States should or should not take military action against Iran?
 
 
Sept. 4-8
Apr. 16-19
Should take military action
64
61
Should not take military action
34
36
No opinion
2
3
 
If the agreement is approved, how likely do you think it is that Iran will violate the terms of the agreement?
 
 
Sept. 4-8
Extremely likely
37 percent
Very likely
23 percent
Somewhat likely
30 percent
Not at all likely
10 percent
No opinion
*
 
The poll, conducted September 4-8, had a sample size 1012.
 
Click here for more information.
 
Pew Research Center
 
A poll conducted September 3-7 found that public support for the nuclear deal fell to 21 percent, down from 33 percent in July. Disapproval slightly increased from 45 to 49 percent. About 22 percent expressed no opinion in July compared to 30 percent in September.
 
 
 
 
The poll, conducted September 3-7, had a sample size of 1,004 adults.
 
Click here for more information.
 
University of Maryland/ Voice Of the People
 
A poll released on September 1 showed that 55 percent of registered voters think the United States should approve the deal. Although the participants were concerned about the agreement’s terms, a majority did not see a better alternative. They gave their final recommendation after evaluating critiques of the deal’s terms, including rebuttals, as well as pros and cons of alternative courses of actions. The survey was conducted by the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation (PPC) and its Center for International and Security Studies (CISSM). It was co-sponsored by CISSM and Voice Of the People.
 
What do you think would be best for the United States to do?
 
 
Approve of the agreement
Ratchet up sanctions, until Iran gives up enrichment
Renew negotiations
Use or threaten the use of military force
Don’t know
National
55 percent
23 percent
14 percent
7 percent
2 percent
Republican
3
36
20
9
4
Democrat
72
14
8
6
<1
Independent
61
18
15
4
2
 
Would you recommend that your Members of Congress APPROVE or NOT APPROVE the agreement that limits Iran’s capacity to enrich uranium to the low level necessary for nuclear energy, requires it to accept intrusive inspections, and lifts sanctions on Iran once it deeply reduces its stockpile of enriched uranium and its number of operating centrifuges?
 
 
Approve
Not Approve
Refused/Don’t know
National
52 percent
47 percent
1 percent
Republican
30
69
1
Democrat
69
32
 
Independent
60
39
1
 
These are some of the key questions that the poll posed with the responses.
 
Here is an argument saying that it [the deal] will increase the chances [of Iran getting a nuclear weapon]:
 
This deal increases the chance that Iran will end up with a nuclear weapon. The deal does not fully remove Iran’s capacity to develop nuclear weapons. Most of the centrifuges will simply be stored away. More important, limiting Iran’s enrichment to the 3.67% level does not mean that its progress toward a nuclear weapon will be completely stopped. They will be able to continually refine their know-how on enrichment and do other types of research and development. After eight and a half years they will also be able to produce some more advanced centrifuges. Thus, should Iran decide to break out of the agreement, it will be able to simply kick out the UN inspectors, restart its centrifuges and move toward getting a nuclear weapon even faster than it could now.
 
 
Very convincing
Somewhat convincing
Total convincing
Somewhat unconvincing
Very unconvincing
Total unconvincing
Refused/
Don’t know
National
38 percent
30 percent
68 percent
18 percent
12 percent
30 percent
3 percent
Republican
57
27
84
9
4
13
4
Democrat
23
34
57
26
16
42
1
Independent
31
29
60
20
16
36
5
 
Here is a rebuttal:
 
This deal reduces the chances that Iran will end up with a nuclear weapon. It puts in place a permanent intrusive inspection regime so we will know exactly what the Iranians are doing, and it blocks all their paths to a nuclear weapon. It reduces their stockpile of enriched uranium by 98% and their number of centrifuges by two-thirds. If Iran sticks with the deal, we’ll know they aren’t making a nuclear weapon. If they try to break out of the deal, with more intrusive inspections, we will have much better means to spot it immediately, and it will be so completely clear that we will be better able to mobilize the world against them. Either way we come out ahead of where we are now.
 
 
Very convincing
Somewhat convincing
Total convincing
Somewhat unconvincing
Very unconvincing
Total unconvincing
Refused/
Don’t know
National
25 percent
31 percent
56 percent
17 percent
24 percent
41 percent
2 percent
Republican
12
25
37
25
37
62
2
Democrat
42
35
77
9
11
20
2
Independent
18
35
53
18
25
43
5
 
Another debate is about whether the US should hold out for a better deal with Iran. Here is an argument saying that it should have: Surely, the US could have gotten a better deal. When the deal was reported in Tehran, people were cheering in the streets. Clearly they feel that they got the better of us and were relieved at the possibility of the sanctions coming off. They need this deal more than we do. If we had simply walked away from the table the Iranians would have begged us to come back, and they would have been ready to make more concessions.
 
 
Very convincing
Somewhat convincing
Total convincing
Somewhat unconvincing
Very unconvincing
Total unconvincing
Refused/
Don’t know
National
23 percent
31 percent
 54 percent
 24 percent
 20 percent
44 percent
2 percent
Republican
35
37
 72
 15
 10
25
4
Democrat
13
26 
 39
 32
 28
60 
 <1
Independent
21 
29 
 50
 24
 23
47 
 2
 
Here is a rebuttal:
 
It is always an appealing fantasy that with a little more pressure one could get a better deal. In Tehran, some Iranians are also complaining that Iran could have gotten a better deal. Though many average people in Tehran were cheering, the hardliners were not happy with the deal and the Supreme Leader seems to have come around only begrudgingly. When we put more pressure on them in earlier negotiations, they did not come back with more concessions, but rather, greatly accelerated their nuclear program.
 
 
Very convincing
Somewhat convincing
Total convincing
Somewhat unconvincing
Very unconvincing
Total unconvincing
Refused/
Don’t know
National
21 percent
34 percent
55 percent
 23 percent
 20 percent
43 percent
1 percent
Republican
33
39 
 31
 28
59
2
Democrat
37 
38 
75
 15
 10
25 
Independent
19 
31 
50 
 25
 24
49 
The poll, conducted August 17-20, had a sample size of 702.
 
Click here for more information.
 
 
Reuters Poll
 
A Reuters poll conducted August 20-27 showed an increase in Republican opposition to the nuclear deal. Some 54 percent of Republicans said they oppose the agreement, compared to 45 percent in July. Democratic opposition remained the same from July to August at 16 percent. But Democratic support for the deal fell to 46 percent from 52 percent.
 
All respondents:
• Oppose the deal: 31 percent
• Support the deal: 29.9 percent
• Don't know: 39.1 percent
• Some 63 percent of Americans said Iran could not be trusted to fulfil its obligations under the agreement.
 
Republicans
Oppose the deal: 54 percent
Support the deal: 19 percent
• Some 71 percent of Republicans said they would be less likely to vote for their representative in Congress if he or she supported the deal.
 
Democrats
Oppose the deal: 16 percent
Support the deal: 46 percent
• Some 17 percent of Democrats said they would be less likely to vote for their representative in Congress if he or she supported the deal.
 
The poll, conducted August 20-27, had a sample size of 2,015.
 
Click here or here for more information.
 
 
Quinnipiac University National Poll
 
A poll conducted August 20-25 showed that 55 percent of American voters opposed the nuclear deal.
 
Do you support or oppose the nuclear deal with Iran?
 
 
Total
Republican
Democrat
Independent
Support
25 percent
4 percent
46 percent
24 percent
Oppose
55
87
25
59
Don’t know/No answer
20
9
 
17
The poll was conducted from August 20 to 25 and had a sample size of 1,563.
 
Click here for more information.
 
 
CNN / ORC International Poll
 
A poll conducted August 13-16 showed that Americans were split on how they view the nuclear deal. Some 50 percent favored an agreement that would ease economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran’s acceptance of major restrictions on its nuclear program. About 46 opposed such an agreement. But 56 percent thought Congress should reject the final deal.
 
As you may know, the U.S. and other countries have imposed strict economic sanctions against Iran while that country has nuclear facilities which could eventually allow it to produce its own nuclear weapons. Do you favor or oppose an agreement that would ease some of those economic sanctions and in exchange require Iran to accept major restrictions on its nuclear program but not end it completely and submit to greater international inspection of its nuclear facilities?*
 
Favor: 50 percent
Oppose: 46 percent
No opinion: 4 percent
 
As you may know, the U.S. Congress must approve the agreement the United States and five other countries reached with Iran that is aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons before it can take effect. Do you think Congress should approve or reject the deal with Iran?**   
          
Approve: 41 percent
Reject: 56 percent
No opinion: 2 percent
 
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the U.S. relationship with Iran?
 
Approve: 38 percent
Disapprove: 60 percent
No opinion: 3 percent
 
*Results based on 500 interviews
**Results based on 501 interviews

The poll, conducted August 13-16, had a sample size of 1,001. The sample also included 897 registered voters.
 
Click here for more information.
 
 
Public Policy Polling Survey
 
A survey conducted July 23-24 found that 54 percent of Americans strongly supported or somewhat supported the deal. A slight majority also though Congress should allow the agreement to be implemented.
 
Q: The US and other countries have reached an agreement to place limits on Iran’s nuclear program in order to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. In exchange for limiting its nuclear program, Iran would receive gradual relief from US and international economic sanctions. The International Atomic Energy Agency would monitor Iran’s facilities and if Iran was caught breaking the agreement, the current economic sanctions would be imposed again. Would you say you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose this agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program?
 
  • Strongly support: 35 percent
  • Somewhat support: 19 percent
  • Somewhat oppose: 6 percent
  • Strongly oppose: 32 percent
  • Not sure: 8 percent
 
Q: Do you think your members of Congress should vote to allow this agreement to go forward and closely monitor how the agreement is being implemented, or do you think your members of Congress should vote to block the agreement and prevent it from being implemented?
 
  • Members of Congress should vote to allow the agreement to go forward and closely monitor how the agreement is being implemented: 54 percent
  • Members of Congress should block the agreement and prevent it from being implemented: 39 percent
  • Not sure: 7 percent
 
The poll was conducted July 23-24 on behalf of Americans United For Change. The sample consisted of 730 registered voters.
 
Click here for more information.
 
 
Washington Post-ABC News Poll
 
A poll conducted from July 16 to 19 found that found that a majority, 56 percent, of Americans supported the deal. But nearly two thirds were not confident that the agreement will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
 
Q: The U.S. and other countries have announced a deal to lift economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for Iran agreeing not to produce nuclear weapons. International inspectors would monitor Iran’s facilities, and if Iran is caught breaking the agreement economic sanctions would be imposed again. Do you support or oppose this agreement?
 
  • Support: 56 percent
  • Oppose: 37 percent
  • No opinion: 7 percent
 
Q: How confident are you that this agreement will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons?
 
  • Very confident: 6 percent
  • Somewhat confident: 29 percent
  • Not so confident: 22 percent
  • Not at all confident: 42 percent
  • No opinion: 1 percent
The poll, conducted July 16-19, had a sample size of 1,002. 
 
Click here for more information.
 
 
YouGov Poll
 
A poll conducted July 14-16 found that 43 percent of Americans supported the deal while 30 percent opposed it. Some 26 percent were undecided.
 
Q: Several world powers, including the United States, have reached an international agreement that will limit Iran’s nuclear activity in return for the lifting of major economic sanctions against Iran. Do you support or oppose this agreement?
 
  • Support: 43 percent
  • Oppose: 30 percent
  • Not sure: 26 percent
 
Q: How confident are you that the agreement will prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon?
 
  • Very confident: 5 percent
  • Somewhat confident: 18 percent
  • Not so confident: 27 percent
  • Not confident at all: 32 percent
  • Don’t know: 18 percent

The poll, conducted July 14-16, had a sample size of 1,000.
 
Click here for more information.
 
 
LA Jewish Journal Survey
 
A poll conducted July 16-20 found that that 49 percent of American Jews supported the deal, while 31 percent opposed it.
 
Q: As you may know, an agreement was reached in which the United States and other countries would lift major economic sanctions against Iran, in exchange for Iran restricting its nuclear program in a way that makes it harder for it to produce nuclear weapons. Do you support or oppose this agreement, or don’t know enough to say?
 
 
American Jews
All Americans
Support
49 percent
28 percent
Oppose
31 percent
24 percent
 
The survey, conducted July 16-20, had a sample that included 505 non-Jewish interviews and 501 Jewish interviews.
 
Click here for more information.
 
 
J Street Poll
 
A poll conducted July 21-23 found that 60 percent of American Jews either strongly supported or somewhat supported the deal. J Street used the same question wording as an earlier Washington Post-ABC News Poll, which found that 56 percent of Americans supported the deal.
 
Q: The U.S. and other countries have announced a deal to lift economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for Iran agreeing not to produce nuclear weapons. International inspectors would monitor Iran’s facilities, and if Iran is caught breaking the agreement economic sanctions would be imposed again. Do you support or oppose this agreement?
 
  • Strongly support: 18 percent
  • Somewhat support: 42 percent
  • Somewhat oppose: 16 percent
  • Strongly oppose: 24 percent
The poll, conducted July 21-23, had a sample size of 1,000.
 
Click here for more information.