However, when the poll also asked respondents if they would support war with Iran “that is similar in length and costs to the war in Iraq,” support dropped significantly, with only 37 percent strongly or somewhat favoring and 56 percent strongly or somewhat opposed:
Concerns that starting a war in Iran could yield similar results to the Iraq war aren’t unreasonable. Former Israeli intelligence chief Meir Dagan told CBS’s 60 Minutes last month that an attack on Iran would “ignite, at least from my point of view, a regional war.” And as retired Gen. Anthony Zinni said in 2009 of possible military action against the Islamic Republic: “[I]f you like Iraq and Afghanistan, you’ll love Iran.”
Meanwhile, recent polling shows that Americans overwhelmingly support diplomacy over war in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program. A Washington Post/ABC News poll out this week found that 81 percent support direct diplomacy between the U.S. and Iran and 53 percent opposed taking military action. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released in March found that more Americans favor diplomacy and sanctions over military action. Another poll released by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) and the University of Maryland last month found strong support for the U.S. and its partners “continuing to pursue negotiations with Iran.”
A potential Iranian nuclear weapon is widely considered a threat to both the security of the U.S. and its allies in the region, and the nuclear non-proliferation regime — though U.S. and Israeli intelligence has not concluded that Iran has made a decision to pursue a weapon. The Obama administration vows to keep “all options on the table” to deal with the possibility, but the efficacy and consequences of a strike raise serious questions, leading the U.S. to pursue, for the meantime, a pressure track aimed at a negotiated resolution of the Iranian nuclear crisis.