An overwhelming majority of Americans consider a nuclear Iran a threat to the US, an Israel advocacy group announced on Thursday.
According to a poll conducted by the Israel Project, 87 percent of American voters see the Islamic republic’s nuclear weapons program as a threat to the United States, and 75% of respondents view Iran and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad negatively.
“It is clear that Americans see Iran as a threat to the West. The overwhelming support for sanctions is a strong indication that voters believe the US must take an active role in confronting this challenge,” said Neil Newhouse, who oversaw the survey.
Fifty-five percent said Iran’s nuclear program, which it is developing contrary to four United Nations resolutions, represents a “very big threat.” Respondents also overwhelmingly see the Iranian regime as a threat to Israel (88%), the Iranian people (79%), the United States (79%), other Arab countries in the Middle East (78%), and Europe (76%).
The US and EU have imposed strong sanctions on Iran aimed at forcing it to abandon its race for a nuclear bomb, and 82% of voters support this action (55% “strongly” support it). Only one in three, however, believes sanctions and diplomacy will prevent Iran’s development of nuclear capabilities.
American voters have warm feelings for Israel (56%) and believe the US should support Israel (57%). Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres are viewed favorably by a better than two-to-one margin.
Respondents said the best reasons for the US to support Israel are the strong alliance between the two countries and shared values such as freedom of speech, religion, press, and the right to vote.
Both leaders will be in Washington this weekend for meetings and speeches to the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Netanyahu will meet President Obama next Monday.
Referring to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, 69% of respondents believe it is about “ideology and religion,” rejecting the idea that “once agreements are reached on how to divide Jerusalem and establishing borders, the two sides can achieve a peace agreement.”
Voters continue to turn to mainstream media for their information on the Middle East. Sixty percent of respondents note television as a primary source, followed by the Internet (35%), and newspapers (31%). Three quarters of those getting news online say it is from mainstream sources.
The survey of 800 registered voters was conducted by live interviewers via telephone on February 26-28 by Public Opinion Strategies. The margin of error is 3.46%.