Policy & Strategy

Poll: Public thinks Iran greatest danger to US

Iran is the country that poses the greatest danger to the United States,
according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.

The poll also found that 56 percent of people surveyed believe the United States should bring troops home from Afghanistan as soon as possible, the same
number that held that view in a Pew 2011 poll.

The percentage of people who think Iran now is the greatest
threat to the United States more than doubled in the past year, jumping to 28 percent
from just 12 percent in January 2011, the poll’s section on military and foreign policy found.

{mosads}China comes in second: 22 percent thought China posed the
greatest danger to the United States, followed by North Korea at 8 percent.

Iraq and Afghanistan were named the greatest danger by 7 percent and
5 percent of poll respondents, respectively.

When it comes to dealing with Iran, there’s a wide divide
between Democrats and Republicans about what might be the best path forward.

Nearly three-quarters of Republican respondents who had
heard something about the recent tensions in Iran said that it was more
important to take a firm stand than avoid military conflict. Democrats, meanwhile,
were almost evenly divided, as 45 percent thought it was more important to
take a stand and 47 percent thought avoiding military conflict should take precedence.


Independents favored taking a firm stand over avoiding
conflict, 52 percent to 41 percent.

Coming off the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq
last month, 56 percent of respondents thought the United States needs to remove troops
from Afghanistan as soon as possible, the same number that felt that way in
June 2011. Still, that’s a jump from 40 percent in June 2010.

The Pew poll also asked about the reduction of the U.S.
military as it plans to cut $487 billion over the next decade. Overall, the public
was evenly divided, as 44 percent thought the reductions would reduce military effectiveness,
while 45 percent said the military could be just as effective after the cuts.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the percentages skew when
separated out by party. Sixty-five percent of Republicans think the cuts will
reduce effectiveness, and 29 percent say the military will be just as
effective.

Among Democrats, 57 percent believe the military will be
just as effective, while 31 percent say it will not.

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