Americans Divided Over Iran Deal

United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll finds support splits along party lines, with Democrats backing the accord.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif shakes hands with Secretary of State John Kerry after a statement on a landmark deal with Iran halting parts of its nuclear program Nov. 24, 2013 in Geneva.
National Journal
Shane Goldmacher
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Shane Goldmacher
Dec. 11, 2013, 3:52 p.m.

The re­cent dip­lo­mat­ic ac­cord with Ir­an is get­ting a split de­cision from the Amer­ic­an pub­lic.

The latest United Tech­no­lo­gies/Na­tion­al Journ­al Con­gres­sion­al Con­nec­tion Poll found a nar­row plur­al­ity, 48 per­cent, said they sup­port eas­ing sanc­tions in ex­change for Ir­an halt­ing its nuc­le­ar weapons pro­gram for six months. They em­braced the goal of giv­ing the United States and oth­ers time to craft a per­man­ent nuc­le­ar pact with the rogue na­tion.

At the same time, nearly as many, 45 per­cent, said the United States now should im­pose ad­di­tion­al sanc­tions on Ir­an — even though the White House and oth­ers say such a move would cripple the nas­cent talks.

United Tech­no­lo­gies/Na­tion­al Journ­al Con­gres­sion­al Con­nec­tion poll show­ing the dis­con­nect of ideas between Amer­ic­ans and their thoughts on the Ir­an nuc­le­ar agree­ment.Over­all, the poll shows just how little mar­gin for er­ror the White House has with the pub­lic as it un­der­takes one of the biggest and most fraught for­eign policy ven­tures of Pres­id­ent Obama’s term.

The re­sponses split along party lines even though Obama’s name was not in­cluded in the ques­tion, with 62 per­cent of Demo­crats sup­port­ing the six-month Ir­an agree­ment versus only 33 per­cent of Re­pub­lic­ans. In­de­pend­ents fell in between, with 47 per­cent sup­port.

While race of­ten car­ries out­size in­flu­ence in polit­ic­al polls, it did not here: 49 per­cent of whites said they sup­port the tem­por­ary Ir­an ac­cord and 47 per­cent of non­whites agreed. Not­ably, 47 per­cent of white men who did not gradu­ate from col­lege — a group that has per­sist­ently been the least sup­port­ive of Obama and his policies — sup­por­ted the ac­cord, about the same rate as the rest of the coun­try (48 per­cent).

Sup­port for the agree­ment did rise with in­come, with 54 per­cent of those earn­ing more than $50,000 in sup­port. Only 45 per­cent of those earn­ing less than $50,000 were in fa­vor.

By 1 per­cent­age point, a very nar­row plur­al­ity of those polled, 46 per­cent, said they op­pose lay­er­ing fur­ther eco­nom­ic sanc­tions on Ir­an now. There was a di­vide along gender lines. Men favored im­pos­ing fur­ther sanc­tions by 10 per­cent­age points more than wo­men, 50 to 40 per­cent. Older Amer­ic­ans also pre­ferred slap­ping on more sanc­tions, with 54 per­cent of those above age 50 in fa­vor of new re­stric­tions com­pared with only 38 per­cent of those 49 and young­er.

The split by party was less stark over wheth­er the United States should add more sanc­tions des­pite the ac­cord: 56 per­cent of Re­pub­lic­ans were in fa­vor versus 45 per­cent of Demo­crats. In­ter­est­ingly, in­de­pend­ents were the least sup­port­ive of such a dip­lo­mat­ic man­euver, with only 41 per­cent in fa­vor.

In­ter­views for the United Tech­no­lo­gies/Na­tion­al Journ­al Con­gres­sion­al Con­nec­tion Poll were by con­duc­ted by Prin­ceton Sur­vey Re­search As­so­ci­ates from Dec. 5-8. The sur­vey of 1,002 adults, con­duc­ted via land­line and cell phone, has a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or minus 3.7 per­cent­age points.

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