Just got this in and thought some folks might find it interesting :
Americans think it will use nuclear weapons against enemies; Plurality thinks U.S. lacks the military might to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions
In the wake of forceful pronouncements from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, two-thirds of American adults now view Iran as a security threat to the U.S. a new Zogby Interactive poll shows. The details of the survey are included in the May edition of Zogby's Real America newsletter, now available at www.zogby.com.
The poll of 5,892 adults nationwide also finds 58% Americans believe it is inevitable Iran will use nuclear weapons against its enemies if it acquires the technology, while just 19% believe Iran's reasons for developing atomic weapons is purely for defense purposes. The online poll was conducted April 28 through May 1, 2006.
Yet despite their belief that a nuclear Iran poses a threat, a 45% plurality of Americans believe the U.S. does not currently have the necessary military resources to prevent Iran from attacking another nation.
A clear partisan divide has emerged on the issue of Iran and how to deal with it. While Republicans and independents view the Islamic Republic as a threat to the U.S.--93% of Republicans and 63% of independents hold this outlook--Democrats are split, with 42% viewing Iran as a threat and 43% believing Iran poses no threat to the U.S. This stark Republican-Democrat split holds up on a number of questions on how to deal with the Iranian regime.
Support for Limited Military Options
Despite concern about the ability to prevent Iran from harming its enemies, a 55% majority of Americans backed various solutions utilizing either limited aid and military support for an indigenous resistance or even air strikes targeting Iranian nuclear facilities in addition to diplomatic efforts. Just one-third -- 32% -- of Americans backed a solely diplomatic approach to Iran, while fewer -- 4% -- endorsed full-scale war against the theocratic regime.
The partisan divide is sharp here, too. While 77% of Republicans back the two limited military roles for the U.S., as do 51% of independents, a 54% majority of Democrats believe that diplomacy alone is the best policy for dealing with Iran.
While Americans back the limited use of the military to thwart Iranian nuclear ambitions, there is no desire among any group for a protracted involvement like in neighboring Iraq, with just 26% in support of the U.S. bringing about regime change.
Israel, Other Middle Eastern Countries Viewed as Likely Iranian Targets
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's threat that Iran would "wipe Israel off the map" has clearly made an impression on Americans. While 66% view Iran as a threat to the U.S., 85% see it as a threat to Israel. Nearly as many -- 79% -- believe Iran, which fought a protracted war with neighboring Iraq during the 1980s, poses a security threat to other Middle Eastern neighbors. A lower 62% see it as a threat to Europe.
A narrow 55% majority of Americans favor intervening to prevent an attack on Israel by Iran, and a stronger 58% would back the U.S. retaliating against Iran if it attacked Israel. In both instances, however, roughly one in four Americans oppose armed conflict with Iran. And a 43% plurality opposes U.S. nuclear retaliation for an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel, while 39% would back an atomic strike. Even fewer Americans -- 34% -- support the use of ground forces against Iran if it attacked Israel.
As with other questions, there is a profound partisan divide over the issue of retaliating on Israel's behalf. Despite the weak support from the overall population for retaliating against Iran if it used atomic weapons against Israel, 59% of Republicans would back a retaliatory nuclear attack.
A Zogby Interactive poll in January found the nation split on the question of whether to use U.S. military forces acting without allies to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons, with 47% favoring it and 47% opposing it. However, 64% said they favored joint U.S.-European military intervention to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
The new Zogby Interactive survey included 5,892 respondents nationwide between April 28 and May 1, 2006, and carries a margin of error of +/- 1.3 percentage points.