Zogby: 52% Of Americans Would Support A Strike On Iranby Doug Mataconis
A majority of likely voters – 52% – would support a U.S. military strike to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon, and 53% believe it is likely that the U.S. will be involved in a military strike against Iran before the next presidential election, a new Zogby America telephone poll shows.
Democrats (63%) are most likely to believe a U.S. military strike against Iran could take place in the relatively near future, but independents (51%) and Republicans (44%) are less likely to agree. Republicans, however, are much more likely to be supportive of a strike (71%), than Democrats (41%) or independents (44%). Younger likely voters are more likely than those who are older to say a strike is likely to happen before the election and women (58%) are more likely than men (48%) to say the same – but there is little difference in support for a U.S. strike against Iran among these groups.
There are, I think, several reasons for these results.
First, most Americans, quite rightly, seem to believe that allowing a regime like the Islamic Republic of Iran to possess weapons of mass destruction would be contrary to the interests of the United States. I agree with this to the extent that, to me, it isn’t important whether Iran could threaten the mainland United States or not; the prospect of an Iranian regime in possession of nuclear weapons and thus possessing a significant strategic advantage over all of its neighbors with the exception of Israel and Pakistan (and Pakistan’s nuclear program exists primarily as a counter to India’s) would not be good for the Middle East or the world as a whole.
Second, we’re talking about Iran here, and the memory of the American public runs deep. November 4, 1979 isn’t that long ago; and Iran’s role in things such as the Marine Barracks bombing in Lebanon and other terror attacks in the 80′s and 90′s is fairly clear.
Finally, even though they have largely come to the conclusion that the Iraq War was a mistake and that we need to disengage, poll results like these are a fairly strong indication that the American people are not isolationist and would not necessarily endorse a foreign policy that could basically be summed up as “bring all the boys home from everywhere,” or support a candidate who advocated such a strategy.
The same poll also indicates that the War on Terror could play a role in the 2008 election:
As the possibility the U.S. may strike Iran captures headlines around the world, many have given thought to the possibility of an attack at home. Two in three (68%) believe it is likely that the U.S. will suffer another significant terrorist attack on U.S. soil comparable to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 – of those, 27% believe such an attack is very likely. Nearly one in three (31%) believe the next significant attack will occur between one and three years from now, 22% said they believe the next attack is between three and five years away, and 15% said they don’t think the U.S. will be attacked on U.S. soil for at least five years or longer. Just 9% believe a significant terrorist attack will take place in the U.S. before the next presidential election.
In 2004, it was public misgivings about John Kerry’s ability to lead the nation in the War on Terror that, largely, gave the election to Bush. What impact continued anxiety over future terrorist acts, whether those fears are justified are not, is unclear, but it would seem to suggest that a candidate who emphasized such issues would have an advantage.