A comprehensive look at all the polling that’s been done on the question of a recently signed first-phase nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 indicates a majority of Americans are supportive of the deal, and broadly in favor of efforts to address the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy.
On Friday, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) issued a document on “American public opinion on Iran,” based on “three recent national polls.” Two of the selected polls — the first a Pew poll conducted December 3-8, the second a highly problematic one conducted December 7-9 by Republican pollster Frank Luntz — showed a majority of Americans against the deal, while a third, conducted December 3-9 by Quinnipiac, showed them nearly evenly split.
But this picture changes significantly when one considers all the polls that have been conducted since the broad details of the nuclear deal became public in early November, even though an agreement wasn’t achieved until later that month.
Most recently, a December 5-9, 2013 AP/GfK poll asked, “Do you approve, disapprove, or neither approve nor disapprove of the interim agreement reached between Iran and six world powers that is designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program?”
Total approve: 59 percent
Total disapprove: 38 percent
A November 26-December 1 poll conducted by Hart Research Associates for Americans United for Change found that, among those who had an opinion, 57 percent supported and 37 percent opposed the deal. Further, when respondents were given a description of the deal, the percentage supporting rose to 63 percent, while the number opposing fell to 24 percent. In other words, people were more supportive the more they knew about the deal.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released days after the Geneva deal was signed on November 24 found that Americans supported the deal by a 2 to 1 margin.
A November 18-20 CNN/ORC Poll asked, “As you may know, the U.S. and other countries have imposed strict economic sanctions against Iran while that country has nuclear facilities which could eventually allow it to produce its own nuclear weapons. Would you favor or oppose an interim deal that would ease some of those economic sanctions and in exchange require Iran to accept major restrictions on its nuclear program but not end it completely and submit to greater international inspection of its nuclear facilities?” The CNN poll’s question turned out to accurately portray the interim deal reached in Geneva just days later. And on that question, the CNN/ORC poll found that 56 percent favored the deal, while 39 percent opposed.
A November 14-17 ABC News/Washington Post Poll also asked respondents if they supported what would turn out to largely be the contours of the Geneva deal. “Thinking now about the situation with Iran: Would you support or oppose an agreement in which the United States and other countries would lift some of their economic sanctions against Iran, in exchange for Iran restricting its nuclear program in a way that makes it harder for it to produce nuclear weapons?”
Support: 64 percent
Oppose: 30 percent
Unsure: 7 percent
Polling is an inexact science, but findings are generally considered more accurate when multiple polls asking similar questions generate similar results. As such, the most credible reading of currently available data on American public opinion shows that a majority of Americans supports the deal.