Poll: 55 percent of Americans say killing of Soleimani makes US less safe

Poll: 55 percent of Americans say killing of Soleimani makes US less safe
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A majority of Americans in a new poll say the U.S. drone strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran's elite Quds Force, made the U.S. less safe.

The USA Today–Ipsos online survey, which was conducted in the lead-up to and aftermath of a retaliatory Iranian missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops, found that 55 percent of Americans said they believe that the U.S. is less safe because of the killing of Soleimani. Among those respondents, 28 percent said that America is "much less safe" because of the U.S. military operation.

In contrast, just 24 percent of respondents said that the U.S. is more safe because of Soleimani's killing. Twenty-one percent said they "don't know." 

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Despite the majority in the new poll saying Soleimani's killing made the U.S. less safe, 42 percent of respondents said that they supported Trump's decision to launch the strike. Just 33 percent said that they opposed the move. 

An overwhelming majority — 69 percent — also said that the attack on the top Iranian commander would make it more likely Tehran would strike American interests in the Middle East. Another 63 percent said that Soleimani's killing made it more likely that terror attacks would take place in the U.S. 

Fifty-two percent also said that the attack made it more likely Iran would begin developing nuclear weapons. The same percentage of respondents said that Trump's behavior with regard to Iran has been reckless. 

On the other hand, 53 percent of Americans said that Trump showed the U.S. "won't be pushed around" by ordering the killing of Soleimani. 

Trump has argued that he ordered the strike on Soleimani last week to stop future attacks and claimed from the White House on Wednesday that it sent a “powerful message” to terrorists. Soleimani is said to be culpable for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. troops in Iraq and other regions. 

The president also said from the White House on Wednesday that the Iranian missile attacks resulted in zero American casualties and that he believed Tehran was "standing down."

"Ipsos’s survey finds that the public is divided on the Soleimani killing. The data suggests that support for the administration’s actions come down to if people view Soleimani as a terrorist figure, which is fair game, or a government official, which is off limits," Clifford Young, president of U.S. Ipsos Public Affairs, told USA Today.

Recent polls have shown Americans divided over the killing of Soleimani. A HuffPost-YouGov survey released earlier this week found that 43 percent of respondents approved the strike, while 38 percent disapproved of the military action. 

The USA Today–Ipsos survey was conducted among a random population of 1,0005 adults on Tuesday and Wednesday. The online non-probability poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The sample of respondents was drawn from Ipsos's online panel and partner online panel sources.