Poll: Plurality opposes Iran nuclear deal

A plurality of people disapprove of an initial agreement reached between the United States and its partners and Iran over Tehran's nuclear program — though a large swath remains undecided, according to a new poll. 

A Pew Research/USA Today poll released Monday found that 43 percent of people disapprove of the deal, while 32 percent approve. Another 25 percent do not have an opinion, reflecting a broad lack of public awareness about the deal, hashed out late last month. 

The results stand in contrast to polling released shortly before the deal was reached. 

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A Washington Post poll released shortly before the agreement was reached found 64 percent of people supported the broad outlines of the move to lift some sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions on the country’s nuclear program. 

A Reuters poll that took place shortly after the deal also found majority support. 

While The Washington Post poll offered a detailed description of the potential agreement in its question, the Pew poll asks simply: “From what you know, do you approve of disapprove of the agreement between the two countries on Iran’s nuclear program?”

A near majority, 48 percent, said they have heard “a little” bit about the deal, while 24 percent said they have heard “a lot.” Another 26 percent of people said they have heard nothing at all. 

Of those who have heard a lot about it, 51 percent of people oppose the deal, while 44 percent support it. 

Democrats are the most receptive, with a majority supporting an agreement. Twenty-nine percent of independents and only 14 percent of Republicans also approve. Nearly an equal number of all the parties — about 25 percent — say they do not know. 

The disapproval of the deal reflects the public’s skepticism about Iranian leaders’ seriousness in negotiations. Of those who have heard of the agreement, 62 percent say Iran is not serious about negotiations — largely unchanged since Pew's last poll before the agreement. 

President Obama has defined the six-month deal as a first step. The United States has agreed to lift some sanctions in exchange for Iran temporarily freezing parts of its nuclear program and submitting to inspections, among other concessions. 

Many leaders on Capitol Hill have expressed skepticism with the outline and are proposing a new round of sanctions, which would take effect if a final deal is not reached. But the administration and Iranian officials have said the sanctions could scuttle negotiations.

The poll surveyed 2,001 people and has a 3 percent margin of error.