NEW YORK – The Obama administration’s repeated vows to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, even should that require the deployment of military force, are rooted firmly in American public opinion, a Pew Research poll has found.

In the latest in a serious of recent national surveys by various polling organizations testing Americans’ views on the Middle East, the Pew study published Tuesday — as President Barack Obama headed to Israel — found that fully 64 percent of Americans agreed that it was “more important to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons even if [it] means taking military action.”

Just 25% said military action should be avoided even at the cost of an Iranian nuclear weapon.

Iran has said its nuclear program is civilian and peaceful, but the IAEA, UN and Western powers suspect otherwise, and recent Gallup polls have found that Americans place Teheran at the top of the list of perceived global enemies.

While Republicans are more likely, at 80% support, to favor military action, support among Democrats and Independents is also extraordinarily high, at 62% and 59% respectively.

Those who prefer an Iranian weapon to a military confrontation accounted for 14% of Republicans, 25% of Democrats and 32% of independents.

“Majorities across nearly all demographic groups say it is more important to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even if it means taking military action,” Pew noted. These views “have not changed much in recent years.”

The mid-March survey queried 1,501 American adults in all 50 states and Washington, DC. The margin of error for the total sample is 2.9%.