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Not Surprisingly, Americans Kind Of Like The Idea Of Bombing Iran

I speculated last week that, notwithstanding the American public’s rather obvious war wariness,  making the public case for military action against Iran wouldn’t be all that difficult given the three decades of antipathy between the United States and the Islamic Republic that started with the Iranian Hostage Crisis. A new poll from The Hill would seem to confirm that suspicion:

Nearly half of likely voters think the United States should be willing to use military force to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, according to this week’s The Hill Poll.

Forty-nine percent said military force should be used, while 31 percent said it should not and 20 percent were not sure.

Sixty-two percent of likely voters said they were somewhat or very concerned about Iran making a terrorist strike on the United States, while 37 percent said they were not very concerned or not at all concerned about it.

As Ed Morrissey notes, support for the idea of military action against Iran is at majority or near-majority levels across nearly all reported demographic groups:

Among the youngest voting set that would have to disproportionately contribute to that effort (18-39YOs), support is almost exactly equal to the overall survey, 49/30.  In fact, there is almost no difference between any of the three age demos.  Income demos are all in favor of it by majorities or large pluralities; the most supportive are the under-$20K demo (53/32) and $40-60K demo (56/27).  There is no real difference between those with children at home (50/28) and those without (49/32).  Democrats narrowly support the idea (41/37) although self-described liberals (32/42) do not.  In fact, the only real partisan difference in the entire poll comes on those who approve of Barack Obama’s performance.  The more people approve of it, the less likely they are to support the idea of attacking Iran to stop the nuclear weapon.

Of course, if the President making the case for military action at some point in the near future happens to be Barack Obama that last group is likely to come along with everyone else. There will be dissenters, of course, but what numbers like this suggest to me is that the idea of military action against Iran is already so engrained in the American psyche that it’s unlikely that any future President would have to worry about the legacy of the unpopular wars in Iraq or Afghanistan in making their case to the American public for action in Iran.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Hey Norm says:

    “…Should US Be Willing to Use Military Force to Prevent Iran from Getting Nuclear Weapons?…”
    That’s pretty vague wording…very different from “…Should the US Use Miltary Force“…I have no trouble reading that as a form of not taking any options off the table. It’s a big step to war. And war with Iran is just a stupid f’ing idea.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  2. Brummagem Joe says:

    I somehow think this enthusiasm wouldn’t survive $6 gas.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  3. anjin-san says:

    I somehow think this enthusiasm wouldn’t survive $6 gas.

    Or an outright depression, which is another risk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  4. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    (digs self from out beneath rubble)

    Those horrible Pajamas people… Are they gone?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  5. noel says:

    Why would you knowingly link to ed morrissey?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  6. DRS says:

    How about a question like: “Should the US be willing to go to war with Iran if it meant a drastic and immediate increase in the price of gas and probably terrorist activity in the US itself?” I’ll bet there might be less enthusiasm.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  7. Ron Beasley says:

    People were initially supportive of the mis-adventure in Iraq. I wonder how supportive they would have been had they known it was going to drag on for nearly a decade, push us deeply in debt and result in the deaths of thousands of Americans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  8. mike says:

    A lot of Americans will be for it as long as the war doesn’t affect them in any way (other to buy a new yellow ribbon magnet or two). Tell them about $6 gas and it will change. Better yet, let’s pay for this one with a separate tax assessment per household (i know shocking, paying for a war at the time we wage it) and then take a poll.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  9. Tillman says:

    There’s no anti-war movement in this country, is there? It’s left entirely to the vicissitudes of which political party holds the Presidency at the time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. Tsar Nicholas says:

    This isn’t really surprising. There’s a major difference between the airheaded liberal demographic and the rest of the country. Hell, even Zombieland can figure out that a Chamberlain approach to critical foreign policies is a recipe for unmitigated disasters.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  11. anjin-san says:

    A lot of Americans will be for it as long as the war doesn’t affect them in any way

    Yea, we can all put cut and paste messages on Facebook. “Support the troops!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Of course, if the President making the case for military action at some point in the near future happens to be Barack Obama that last group is likely to come along with everyone else.

    Doug. you know as well as I that the harping from the right would grow ever more furious as said “military action” proceeded about how Obama was doing it all wrong and that the spike in gas prices were all his fault. But if a President Mitt did as much, well, “Hoocouldanode?”

    Remember all the GOP’sters who were for intervention in Libya until Obama did it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  13. Joe Scarry says:

    Thanks. I was surprised at the level of hostility I encountered from some people when we demonstrated against U.S. war moves vs. Iran on Saturday in Chicago. Those of us who want to PREVENT this next war have our work cut out for us. I think we are going to fail unless we are willing to engage in some very painful one-on-one conversations … with a lot of people who have been badly misinformed and are harboring a lot of ugly prejudices …. (More at: http://bit.ly/AfterFeb4 )

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Yes, just like in July of 1914, right Tsar?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  15. grumpy realist says:

    Considering that the bulk of Americans probably wouldn’t be able to find Iran on a map unless you labeled it, I’m not too surprised at this statistic. It’s all rah-rah-rah and flags waving and bands playing until the actual corpses start coming home and we’re having to deal with $300/barrel oil, etc. And then it will be “hoocouldanode?” and “It’s those goddamn hippies!” and immense sulking and We Wuz Be-TRAYed.

    The older I get, the more contempt I feel for that ape with opposable thumbs called Man.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  16. Hey Norm says:

    “…a Chamberlain approach to critical foreign policies…”

    Someones been listening to Beck &/or Limbaugh again. Do you think Tsar has “DITTO” tatooed on his forehead?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  17. Lomax says:

    @anjin-san: What’s wrong with that? Many soldiers are on facebook.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. Catfish says:

    @mike: I think a better idea would be fund raising activities: sell US and military themed shirts, jackets, and caps is one that I think would raise a lot of money. Putting some sort of tax on gas will just drive down gas consumption and you would not get a lot out of that. Have families and individuals “sponsor” a soldier simular to those programs where you can sponsor a hungry child for so much a month. It would be a mistake to let this be just a chore.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. @Tsar Nicholas:

    Hell, even Zombieland can figure out that a Chamberlain approach to critical foreign policies is a recipe for unmitigated disasters.

    It should be noted that, had it not been for Chamberlain, we likely would have lost WWII. The basic arc of the war was three years of the Allies gradually retreating on all fronts to buy time for the US and the Soviet Union to ramp up enough industrial capcity to overwhelm the Axis forces. The only reason this worked is because the beginning of the war had been stalled as long as possible. Had Churchill gotten his way and the war had begun two years earlier, the UK likely would have been gone by the time the US and Soviet Union got involved. It’s also unlikely that the French and British armies that falled to stop the Germans in Poland in 1939 or France in 1940 would have been ables to stop them in Czechoslovakia in 1938, given that Czechoslovakia was far more accessible to Germany than to the UK and France (particularly since we now know that Germany and the Soviet Union were secretly allied with each other at that point).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  20. The comparison of Iran to the Third Reich is also facially ridiculous. Germany was not dangerous becaus if Hitler. It was dangerous because it had the world’s largest military and the world’s second largest industrial base at the time.

    Iran, on the other hand, has only 1% of the world’s GDP and a military budget 1% that of the US.

    Even if Iran were run by Hitler, they would not be a global threat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. An Interested Party says:

    Hell, even Zombieland can figure out that a Chamberlain approach to critical foreign policies is a recipe for unmitigated disasters.

    This is from the same idiot who would be howling if an Iranian misadventure came at the cost of extremely high gas prices…

    Remember all the GOP’sters who were for intervention in Libya until Obama did it?

    IOKIYAR, of course…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. ernieyeball says:

    “The wisest were just the poor and simple people. They knew the war to be a misfortune, whereas those who were better off, and should have been able to see more clearly what the consequences would be, were beside themselves with joy. Katczinsky said that was a result of their upbringing. It made them stupid. And what Kat said, he had thought about.”
    - Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet On The Western Front, Ch. 1

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  23. anjin-san says:

    @ Lomax

    I’m not impressed by feel good “support the troops” messages. It takes about ten seconds to put a little magnet on your car or paste a message on Facebook. It’s lazy.

    If someone really wants to support the troops, there are a lot of ways to do it that are meaningful. But they require a bit of commitment and sustained effort.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. Carson says:

    “Release the Kraken!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. A voice from another precinct says:

    @Ron Beasley: “we’re Americans, son, we don’t plan we act!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0