Most Americans have backed a nuclear deal with Iran and expressed disagreement with resorting to military action against Tehran even if the historic diplomatic effort falls through, a poll proves.
The findings were rare good news in the polls for President Barack Obama, whose approval ratings have dropped in recent weeks because of the botched rollout of his signature healthcare reform law.
According to the Tuesday survey by Reuters/Ipsos, 44 percent of Americans support the interim deal reached between Iran and six world powers in Geneva last weekend, and 22 percent oppose it.
The survey also underscored a strong desire to avoid new US military entanglements after long, costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Even if the Iran deal fails, 49 percent want the United States to then increase sanctions and 31 percent think it should launch further diplomacy. But only 20 percent want US military force to be used against Iran.
The survey’s results suggest that a US public weary of war could help bolster Obama’s push to keep Congress from approving new sanctions that would complicate the next round of negotiations for a final agreement with Iran.
“This absolutely speaks to war fatigue, where the American appetite for intervention – anywhere – is extremely low,” Ipsos pollster Julia Clark said. “It could provide some support with Congress for the arguments being made by the administration.”
Obama and his aides are casting the deal as the best alternative to a new Middle East conflict as they push back against skeptical lawmakers and close US ally Israel who accuse Washington of giving up too much for too little.
A number of lawmakers, especially Republicans, have insisted they will try to enact stiffer new sanctions, which the Obama administration says would poison the negotiating atmosphere during the six months allotted to achieve a long-term accord.
But signs of significant public support for the Iran deal could give some of Obama’s own pro-Israel Democrats, who may fear being branded as inadequately supportive of the regime in the 2014 US congressional elections, political cover to stick with the president.