Americans are divided over the deal between the United States and Iran to limit Iran's nuclear program, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. But the poll also finds many are uncertain about the deal's impact on U.S. allies and about Iran's intentions of following through on its promises.
According to the new poll, Americans are evenly divided over the temporary deal, which places limits on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the U.S. easing some sanctions. Thirty-six percent said they support the deal with Iran, and 35 percent said they oppose the deal. Another 17 percent said they neither support nor oppose the deal, and 12 percent said they weren't sure.
An Ipsos/Reuters poll released Monday found more favorable opinions of the deal, with 44 percent saying they approved and 22 percent saying they disapproved.
Such differences in poll results are common in cases where Americans aren't paying close attention to a news story, when question wording and context can be key to poll respondents' understanding of an issue.
In this case, the HuffPost/YouGov poll found that only 19 percent of respondents said they have been following the negotiations over Iran's nuclear program very closely. Another 42 percent said they had been following somewhat closely, while a combined 39 percent said either that they were not following closely (25 percent) or not following at all (14 percent). That makes poll responses on the issue more likely to be reactions to the deal as it is described, rather than reflections of preexisting opinions.
Not surprisingly, given that respondents to the new HuffPost/YouGov poll were divided on the deal as a whole, they also split over whether the proposal be good (31 percent) or bad (33 percent) for the United States. A combined 36 percent said either that the deal was neither good nor bad, (18 percent) or that they weren't sure (18 percent).
But more feared that the deal might be a poor one for U.S. allies. By a 41-percent-to-17-percent margin, more said that the deal would be a bad one, rather than a good one, for Israel. Generally speaking, respondents were more likely to say that the deal would be bad for U.S. allies in the region than they were to say that the deal would be good, by a 34-percent-to-22-percent margin.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticized the American deal with Iran, calling it a "historic mistake" that makes the world a "more dangerous place."
Respondents to the poll were also skeptical that the deal would stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Only 11 percent said that the interim deal would ultimately lead to an agreement that would stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, while another 28 percent said that it would delay but not prevent it. Thirty-three percent said it would do neither. Another 28 percent said they weren't sure.
And only 1 percent said they trusted Iran "a great deal" to adhere to the terms of any agreement that would limit its ability to get a nuclear weapon. Sixteen percent said they had some trust in the country's word, 26 percent said they didn't have much, and 42 percent said they had none at all.
The poll also found that many fear the deal may be too favorable toward Iranian interests. Forty-five percent of respondents said the deal's terms were too generous to Iran, while 30 percent said the deal was about right. Only 1 percent said that the deal was not generous enough, while another 24 percent weren't sure.
Still, few survey respondents (19 percent) endorsed the threat of military force as a strategy for getting Iran to limit its nuclear ambitions, with far more endorsing more peaceful strategies, including the threat of increased economic sanctions (37 percent), a reward of reduced economic sanctions (22 percent), resuming diplomatic relations (16 percent ) or a pledge of no military action as a reward for Iran (6 percent).
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Nov. 25-27 among 1,000 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. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.