Iran Deal Leaves The Public Confused And Skeptical

Few Americans either understand or support the agreement.

Few Americans want the Senate to vote for the Iran nuclear deal, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted last week. Even fewer say they have a good understanding of what the deal entails.

Overall, just 23 percent of Americans say they want their senators to support the nuclear deal with Iran. Forty-three percent are opposed -- and they're about evenly divided between those who don't support the current agreement, but could support another one with different terms, and those who would never support any deal with Iran. Another 34 percent aren't sure. 

Nearly half of Americans say they don't understand the Iran deal very well or at all. Thirty-five percent say they understand it moderately well, while 19 percent say they understand it very or extremely well. Those who consider themselves well-informed about the deal oppose it 60 percent to 36 percent.

It's not just the deal many Americans are unsure about. There's little public trust in either President Barack Obama or the Republicans in Congress to handle relations with Iran. Just 36 percent of Americans say they trust Obama a fair amount or a great deal on the issue, while only 27 percent say the same of Republicans. Levels of trust generally split along party lines, with 73 percent of Democrats saying they have faith in Obama, 57 percent of Republicans professing confidence in the GOP, and independents not feeling especially reassured by either side.

People with a great deal or a fair amount of trust in Obama to handle Iran back the nuclear deal by a 45-point margin. Those with similar levels of trust in congressional Republicans oppose the agreement by a 52-point margin. The nearly 30 percent of Americans who say they don't trust either the president or the GOP are also majorly opposed to the deal. 

Surveys measuring public opinion on the Iran deal have looked contradictory at times, largely because it's an issue that few people are following closely. In a recent poll, only one-fourth of Americans could correctly answer a question about the nuclear agreement's aims. Three other surveys in July, which provided respondents with different levels of information about the deal, found support ranging from 33 percent to 56 percent.  

But the HuffPost/YouGov poll's results are broadly consistent with those of a Pew Research report, also released Tuesday, which found just 21 percent of Americans in support of the deal and 49 percent opposed. An August CNN/ORC poll also showed the public rooting for Congress to reject the deal, although by a smaller margin. Both Pew and CNN found support for the deal down significantly from earlier in the summer, in part because opponents are more likely to still be following the discussion.

"[T]he contentious debate over the Iran agreement has not resonated widely with the public," the Pew report said, noting that Americans are more likely now to claim they've heard nothing at all about the deal than they were in July.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Sept. 3-4 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the polls' methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov's reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.