Poll finds broad support for renegotiating nuclear deal with Iran

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A strong majority of voters — including most Democrats — said the U.S. should renegotiate the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, according to a recent poll.

Furthermore, there is broad support for any new deal to be ratified by Congress, rather than implemented as an executive agreement, as former President Obama did in 2015.

According to the latest Harvard-Harris survey, 70 percent of respondents said the 2015 Iran deal should be renegotiated and verified by Congress, including 85 percent of Republicans, 71 percent of independents and 57 percent of Democrats.


Overall, 60 percent of polled voters said the deal is a bad one for the U.S., with two-thirds of voters saying Iran has not complied with the terms of the agreement. Half of Democrats agreed that Iran has not held up its side of the bargain.

Eighty-one percent said any new deal should require Senate approval and be certified by Congress in the same manner as a treaty.

“Americans see Iran as a bad actor on all fronts and substantial majorities believe this agreement is being violated and never should have gone into effect without a Senate vote,” said Harvard-Harris co-director Mark Penn. “The polling certainly raises questions about the strategy of some Democrats to attack Trump when he attacks Iran or North Korea, two regimes universally despised by Americans.”

Last week, President Trump decertified the Iran nuclear deal. Rather than terminate the deal entirely, the president asked Congress to amend it to include new thresholds pertaining to Iran’s nuclear program that could trigger new sanctions on the country.

Trump had recertified the deal twice before and his decision not to do so a third time was met with alarm from Obama administration alums and some Republican foreign policy establishment figures, who warned that Trump’s moves would backfire and send Iran’s nuclear program into overdrive.

Critics of the Obama-era deal say the agreement was toothless and that Iran was moving toward becoming a nuclear power in spite of the deal.

Still, the public is split over Trump’s decision not to recertify the deal. Only 51 percent say Trump was right not to recertify it.

“Voters want it renegotiated but are split on whether Trump’s decertification was right, underscoring the need for Trump to keep explaining his policy and actions to an electorate that supports his aims,” Penn said.

The Harvard-Harris Poll was an online survey of 2,159 registered voters conducted Oct. 14-18. The partisan breakdown is 36 percent Democrat, 32 percent Republican, 28 percent independent and 4 percent other.

The Harvard-Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Harvard Center for American Political Studies and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard-Harris Poll throughout 2017.

Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The Harvard–Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.

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