Poll: 64% of Americans Would Support U.S. Strike to Prevent Iran's Nuclear Program

New Pew Research poll, released ahead of Obama's Israel visit, finds support for strike is higher among Republicans and lower among Democrats. A plurality among Americans believe Obama pursuing 'balanced' course in Middle East.

Chemi Shalev
Chemi Shalev
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Chemi Shalev
Chemi Shalev

A solid majority of the American public would support a U.S. military action against Iran in order to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, according to a new poll published in Washington on Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.

According to the poll, 64% of Americans believe it is “more important to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even it means taking military action” compared to only 25% who think that it is more important to “avoid military conflict, even if Iran may develop nuclear weapons.”

The poll, carried out between March 13-17 among 1501 American adults, finds that support for a military strike is strongest among Republican voters (80%) compared to Democrats (62%) and Independents (59%). The poll reflects a rise in American support for such a strike, if warranted, from 58% a year ago to 64% today.

The poll is one in a series of new polls released in advance of President Obama’s visit to Israel, which starts Wednesday. Though the absolute numbers vary, the polls point to a strong preference for Israel over the Palestinians. The polls also show that this support for Israel is stronger among older, conservative Republicans and weaker among younger, liberal Democrats.

In the Pew poll, 49% say that “in the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians” they sympathize more with Israel, compared to 12% who side with the Palestinians and 39% who either support neither or support both sides equally. The strongest support comes from white Evangelical Protestants (72%) and the weakest from Democrats (39%) and those aged 18-29 (36%).

The poll also finds that a plurality of 41% believe that Obama is “striking the right balance” in “the Middle East situation,” compared to 21% who maintain that the President is “favoring the Palestinians too much” and 9% who think that he favors Israel too much. 39% of Republicans believe that Obama favors the Palestinians, compared to only 7% of the Democrats.

The Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran. Credit: AP

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