Policy & Strategy

Poll: Public prefers diplomacy to attack on Iran as tensions rise with Israel

More than two-thirds of the public believes that continued negotiations
with Iran over its nuclear program is a better option than an Israeli strike to
stop it, according to a new poll from the University of Maryland.

The results diverge from a New York Times/CBS News poll
earlier in the week, which found that more people thought the United States
should support Israel (47 percent) than not get involved (42 percent) if Israel
decides to attack Iran, as it as hinted it could do.

{mosads}Taken together, the two polls shine some light on American
thinking as tensions continue to rise between the United States, Israel and

The Times/CBS poll assumes that an attack has occurred, in
which case the public favors supporting Israel. However, the Maryland survey
shows the public still prefers a diplomatic solution to a military one by a
large margin, as 69 percent preferred negotiations while 24 percent wanted an
Israeli strike.

In a separate question, the Maryland poll found that most
people want the United States to take a neutral stance toward a potential
Israeli strike, with 46 percent wanting Washington to stay neutral, 34 percent to
discourage Israel from attacking and 14 percent to encourage.

During Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to
Washington last week, he warned that sanctions were not stopping Iran’s nuclear
ambition, and said time was running out. Iran says its nuclear program is for
peaceful purposes, while the United States, Israel and other western allies
believe Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

The Maryland poll found that 58 percent of respondents
believed Iran has decided to produce nuclear weapons and is actively working to
do so, something that U.S. officials said has not occurred yet. Thirty percent said
they thought Iran has not made that decision yet.

If Israel attacks, 48 percent of U.S. respondents thought a
conflict between Israel and Iran would last years, compared to just 22 percent
of Israeli respondents taken in a separate survey.


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