Plurality Of Americans Supports Deal On Iranian Nuclear Program


The first poll in the wake of the temporary agreement on Iran’s nuclear weapons program finds the American public largely supportive of the deal:

(Reuters) – Americans back a newly brokered nuclear deal with Iran by a 2-to-1 margin and are very wary of the United States resorting to military action against Tehran even if the historic diplomatic effort falls through, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday.

The findings were rare good news in the polls for President Barack Obama, whose approval ratings have dropped in recent weeks because of the botched rollout of his signature healthcare reform law.

According to the Reuters/Ipsos survey, 44 percent of Americans support the interim deal reached between Iran and six world powers in Geneva last weekend, and 22 percent oppose it.

While indicating little trust among Americans toward Iranian intentions, the survey also underscored a strong desire to avoid new U.S. military entanglements after long, costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Even if the Iran deal fails, 49 percent want the United States to then increase sanctions and 31 percent think it should launch further diplomacy. But only 20 percent want U.S. military force to be used against Iran.

The survey’s results suggest that a U.S. public weary of war could help bolster Obama’s push to keep Congress from approving new sanctions that would complicate the next round of negotiations for a final agreement with Iran.

“This absolutely speaks to war fatigue, where the American appetite for intervention – anywhere – is extremely low,” Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said. “It could provide some support with Congress for the arguments being made by the administration.”

In the past, polling has generally shown that the American public supports a harder line toward Iran than is generally true with respect to other international conflicts. Given the enmity that has existed between the two nations for the past three decades, and the still existent memory of events such as the Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1979-1981, the terror attacks carried out against the U.S. Embassy and Marine Barracks in Beirut in the 1980s, and the fact that Iran played an active role in training the insurgents who went on to kill American soldiers in Iraq in the 2000s, this isn’t entirely surprising. However, there does indeed some to be no small degree of war weariness among the public as a whole even when it comes to even an adversary like Iran that has targeted the United States going on three decades now.

FILED UNDER: National Security, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Rob in CT says:

    Most folks would like to avoid another war if possible, of course.

    The deal is pretty tentative. It’s a cautious first step.

    Which makes all the wailing about Munich, Munich I tell you! all the more amusing/sickening (depending on one’s mood). Haven’t the neocons ever heard of the Boy Who Cried Wolf?

  2. alanstorm says:

    @Rob in CT:
    And what happened to that boy?

    Nobody believed Cassandra either.

  3. anjin-san says:

    @ alanstorm

    Better hide under your bed. Scary Muslims are at your door.

  4. Scott says:

    I don’t have any data to back up what I am about to say but I get that sense that WRT to the two Islamic powers in the Mid East, Saudi Arabia and Iran, the US has an inverse relationship. In Iran, the government is negative to the US while the people are generally friendly. The opposite seems to be true in Saudi Arabia, the Government is friendly while the people are not.

    I’ve written so before but I feel that we would be better allies with Iran than with the Saudis and the Gulf Sheiks.

  5. Rob in CT says:


    Boogah Boogah!

  6. Franklin says:

    The Persians have a rich history and culture, and a large percentage of the people there are educated and appreciate Western culture and even like Americans (except for our government).

    We *should* support a thaw in the relations, but of course the typical unworldly American doesn’t know anything about the Persian people. I agree, it’s more likely that these poll results are because Americans are simply tired of war.

  7. mattbernius says:

    I really don’t think you understand the morals of the two stories you are discussing.

    In particular the overall *point* of the Cassandra myth, which has little to do with any lesson about ignoring warnings and far more to do with the inevitable power of fate.

  8. Moderate Mom says:

    The poll shows 44% in favor of the deal and 22% against it. What do the missing 34% think? I followed the links, but they just keep mentioning the 44/22 figure.

  9. grumpy realist says:

    @mattbernius: also of not pissing a god off.

    There’s a reason why I don’t pray to my deities. It just attracts their attention.

  10. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    What do the missing 34% think?

    “Iran? Wasn’t she a finalist on The Voice last season?”

  11. mattbernius says:

    @grumpy realist:

    also of not pissing a god off.

    Yeah, though it’s no so much pissing off a god as it was… top politely put it… “playing with their affections” (more crassly one might say “not putting out after he bought you dinner/gave-you-prohetic-powers”). Those Greek Gods were a thin-skinned, pissy bunch. Not to mention way too into swan-rape.

    Probably not the best thing to look to those myths for any modern life lessons.

  12. Rob in CT says:

    @Moderate Mom:

    Sounds like a lot of people were honest enough to say they didn’t know.

  13. C. Clavin says:

    If the American People are in favor of it…then it can’t be a good idea.
    Nearly 60% of the American People supported invading Iraq.
    Enough said.

  14. wr says:

    @mattbernius: “Probably not the best thing to look to those myths for any modern life lessons.”

    Unless you’re thinking about dating a swan.

  15. C. Clavin says:

    Speaking of polls….

    The latest CNN/ORC International poll showed that 53 percent of Americans think it’s too early to characterize the health care law as a failure, while 54 percent expressed optimism that the problems currently plaguing Obamacare be resolved.


    The survey also showed a majority of Americans (58 percent) are opposed to the Affordable Care Act — a continuation of a recent trend —but the pollsters provided context for the source of the opposition. Forty-one percent said they oppose the law because it’s too liberal, while 14 percent said it isn’t liberal enough. As CNN noted, this means that 54 percent either support the Affordable Care Act or believe it isn’t liberal enough.

  16. Tyrell says:

    Perhaps in the interest of goodwill and improving relations we could host the Iran camel racing team in a series of exhibition events.

  17. Matt says:

    @Scott: I really believe that the green movement has rattled the real leaders of Iran. The people in Iran really parallel what I’ve seen in the USA. In the cities they tend to be more liberal and can appear very “American” while the rural eras are their own special version of redneck. Religious extremists started losing their grip on power some time ago.

    What disturbs me is the amount of people who think Iran would commit suicide as a nation just to drop one nuke on Israel. Like everyone in Iran is a fanatical true believer.

    This deal looks like a nice start.

    @C. Clavin:
    I’m in the not liberal enough camp.

    The single payer option appeals to me too.

  18. says:

    @ Tyrell

    Perhaps in the interest of goodwill and improving relations we could host the Iran camel racing team in a series of exhibition events.

    Persia had an advanced civilization long before most Europeans learned to count to ten. Google “Parthia”, and get informed.