Poll: Americans Favor Diplomacy Over Israeli Attack On Iran

March 14, 2012 12:35 p.m.
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As tensions rise over Iran’s nuclear program, a majority of Americans want Israel and the U.S. to pursue diplomacy over military action.President Obama insists “all options are on the table” to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. But Obama and American officials have cautioned Israel against a preemptive strike against Iran, urging diplomacy and sanctions instead. There is still a “window for diplomacy” to deter Iran’s nuclear development, Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month. Netanyahu insists that Israel reserves the right to secure its own national security.

But only one in four Americans favor Israel launching a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program, according to a new University of Maryland poll. Seven out of 10 respondents believe the U.S. and other world leaders should continue to pursue negotiations with Iran. President Obama called for continued diplomacy in a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday. Cameron agreed.

Only one in five respondents believe a strike against Iran would delay its ability to develop a nuclear weapon for more than five years, according to the poll. And about half of Americans polled believe the conflict would go on for years.

Six in 10 respondents believe Iran is actively working to produce nuclear weapons. Nine in 10 believe Iran will eventually develop them. U.S. intelligence agencies continue to believe there is no evidence Iran has decided to build a bomb. The tensions over Iran’s nuclear program appear to be taking a toll. Last month, Iran topped Gallup’s “greatest enemy” list. Threatening Israel, announcements of its growing nuclear program and the possibility that Iran could disrupt the flow of oil all contributed to the antipathy, according to the poll.

See the full results of the University of Maryland poll here.

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