Large Majority of Americans Favor Making a Deal with Iran on its Nuclear Program


cover_thumbJuly 15, 2014

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As the clock runs out on negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, a new study of the American public finds that 61 percent favor making a deal with Iran that would limit Iran’s enrichment capacity and impose additional intrusive inspections in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions. This includes 62 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of independents.

The alternative option, being promoted by some members of Congress, calls for not continuing the current negotiations but increasing sanctions in an effort to get Iran to stop all uranium enrichment. This approach is endorsed by 35 percent.

The deal that was backed by a majority specified that Iran could enrich uranium to the level necessary for nuclear energy, provided that it accepts intrusive inspections to ensure that Iran is not building nuclear weapons. Some sanctions would then be gradually removed, provided that Iran upholds the agreement.

The study is unique in that respondents were first given a briefing on the issue and evaluated arguments for and against the options of making a deal with Iran or pursuing further sanctions. The briefing and arguments were vetted with Congressional staffers from both parties and other experts. Majorities found the arguments for both options convincing.

“Americans find convincing the arguments for making a deal as well as for ending the negotiations and ramping up sanctions,” said Steven Kull, director of the Program for Public Consultation. “But when asked to finally decide, a clear majority breaks in favor of a deal.”

The study was conducted by the Program for Public Consultation and the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland (CISSM). It was fielded with a representative sample of 748 Americans drawn from the GfK Knowledge Panel.

The study also finds that 61 percent favor working together with Iran to deal with the situation in Iraq. More than seven in ten also favor various confidence-building measures, such as more cultural exchanges and sporting events, as well as more extensive government-to-government talks on issues of mutual concern.

“While there are no easy or definitive answers to the dispute about Iran’s nuclear program, most Americans clearly favor diplomatic engagement and cooperation over the alternatives,” said Nancy Gallagher, research director at CISSM. “Majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents all think that compromise makes more sense than yet another round of sanctions.”

 

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