Poll shows majority wants Congress to approve Iran deal

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A new survey shows a majority of Americans wants Congress to uphold the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran.

According to the survey from the University of Maryland, 55 percent of respondents said Congress should get behind the agreement, despite some concerns. 

Twenty-three percent, meanwhile, said lawmakers should instead ratchet up sanctions, and 14 percent wanted U.S. officials to go back to the negotiating table.

In a key stat for Democratic backers of the agreement, 61 percent of independents recommended that Congress approve the deal, along with 72 percent of Democrats.

Just 33 percent of Republicans expressed support, highlighting the partisan divide that has formed over the agreement, which sets limits on Iran’s nuclear ability in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. 

The poll was conducted online, and the participants went through an in-depth process of listening to arguments from both sides. People were subjected to a detailed list of critiques of the agreement, followed by rebuttals to those arguments with reasons to get behind the deal.

The most convincing criticisms focused on the lack of “anytime/anywhere” inspections of Iranian facilities, the fact that limits on Iran’s nuclear development “will go away” in 15 years and Iran’s ability to use the money that it receives under the deal to threaten regional security. A majority of Democrats said those arguments were either “somewhat” or “very convincing.”

“There is a lot of concern about key terms of the deal, especially the limits on inspections and the release of frozen funds to Iran,” Steven Kull, director of the university’s Program for Public Consultation, said in a statement.

“Standard polls are reflecting these concerns, but when voters think through the issue, they conclude taking the deal is better than any of the alternatives.”

The 702 registered voters who participated in the survey comprised a representative sample of American voters, the university said. The poll was conducted from Aug. 17 to 20.