New Poll: Americans Aren't Ready for Another War

For those tuning into the myriad Republican presidential debates over the past few months, they may have been surprised to learn that many GOP candidates believe a military intervention in Iran could be likely.

Yet despite the cheers the candidates received for taking hawkish foreign policy stances with Iran, a recent Rasmussen poll finds that only 35 percent of Americans favor using military force if sanctions fail to prevent Iran from developing their nuclear capabilities.

This finding is especially interesting given that 81 percent of Americans think it is either somewhat or very likely that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon in the near future, and that 63 percent of Americans do not believe it is very or at all likely that stiff economic sanctions will effectively force Iran to disband its nuclear program.

Although 76 percent of Americans believe that Iran is a serious national security threat to the United States, only 35 percent are ready to favor military intervention. This means that even though most Americans believe it's quite likely Iran will develop a nuclear weapon and that economic sanctions will fail to work, they aren’t willing for Americans to engage in another military intervention. This suggests that Americans may recognize there are other means to promote peace, prosperity, and American defense, besides intervening militarily.

The Q3 2011 Reason-Rupe poll can illuminate this hesitance among a majority of Americans to engage in another war. First, 61 percent believe the U.S. uses its military force in foreign conflicts too often. Furthermore, 62 percent are not convinced that the war in Iraq has been worth it, while 65 percent do not believe that keeping troops in Afghanistan until 2014 will make the U.S. any safer.

Americans are drained from the costs of war in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and right now they don’t seem willing to engage in another conflict. Americans may be willing to consider other means to promote national defense, besides military intervention and economic sanctions. Perhaps keeping the military strong here at home and promoting free trade abroad could be a consideration.

Rasmussen Reports
1,000 Likely Voters
Conducted January 17-18, 2012

How likely is it that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon in the near future?

42% Very likely
39% Somewhat likely
  7% Not very likely
  2% Not at all likely
10% Not sure

How likely is it that stiff economic sanctions against Iran will force Iran to disband its nuclear program?

  6% Very likely
21% Somewhat likely
46% Not very likely
17% Not at all likely
10% Not sure

Suppose that diplomatic efforts fail to prevent Iran from continuing to develop its nuclear capabilities. Should the United States use military force to prevent Iranfrom developing nuclear weapons?

35% Yes
38% No
27% Not sure

How serious a national security threat is Iran to the United States?

33% Very serious
43% Somewhat serious
16% Not very serious
  2% Not at all serious
  6% Not sure

 NOTE: Margin of Sampling Error, +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence

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  • AlmightyJB||

    76% believe Iran is a serious threat to the US? Really? That is just sad. The US Government is a greater threat to the US than Iran.

  • Almanian||

    What AJB said. Also, ^^^^this^^^^

    Almighty, you are on FIRE today!

  • ||

    What this country needs is a serious rethink on what "national security threat" really means.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "think" is the problem. People don't think for themselves. They accept what they're told as fact.

  • Kynda Scarry||

    Gee, that in itself would appear to be a "national security threat".

  • rather||

    This suggests that Americans may recognize there are other means to promote peace, prosperity, and American defense, besides intervening militarily.

    I'd like to have heard their ideas. short of assassinating scientist; what else is there?

  • Southerner||

    I'll tell you a (slightly modified) old joke:

    Q: What do Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Tehran have in common?

    A: Nothing... yet.

    Methinks Reason's polls may be accurate, but the analysis is flawed. What these polls tell us is not that people don't want another war, just that they don't want another long war with soldiers on the ground. Any war involving no soldiers on the ground and taking less than an hour from start to finish would probably suit people fine, though everyone's reluctant to pull that particular trigger until all other options run out.

    Of course, until the situation gets as desperate as that, we can continue to do what George W. Bush seemed to be doing right up to the end of his term and what the current administration seems to be doing as well: stall for time and wait for Iran's incompetent and unpopular government to implode, taking its nuclear program with it. Of course, anything that hastens this implosion, such as economic sanctions, another Stuxnet-style virus, or yes, covert targeted killing of anyone involved in Iran's nuclear program, is probably being attempted.

  • ||

    Americans may not be ready for another war, but that doesn't matter, because those who determine whether we get in another war are not the people, but the politicians.

    "War Pigs", indeed.

  • ||

    That's original. Did you just make that up? Can I use it?

  • ||

    Listen, heller, fairies wear boots, and you gotta believe me, man.

  • AlmightyJb||

    I saw it with my own two eyes.

  • The Angry RPh||

    Yep. I remember polls indicating the American citizens were against the TARP bailouts. We all know what happened.

    Of the people, by the people, and for the people. Don't make me laugh.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    This is a republic, not a democracy!

    You're supposed to nod reluctantly and cede the argument to me now. No one knows why.

  • Gojira||

    It's actually something of a valid argument.

    The people we elect are supposed to make decisions for us, even if it's against the majority opinion. Supposed to protect against a tyranny of the mob majority, ruled by their passions.

    The problem is, sometimes the mob is right.

  • Almanian||

    Santorum and Newcular "Kill 'em" Titties say "You're alllllllllllll pussies. IT'S NOT A SUICIDE PACT!!!"

    On a related note, fuck you, Santorum and Newcular "Kill 'em" Titties. Fucking chickenhawk shitstain motherfucking warmongering baby killers. And shit.

  • Almanian||

    In other news, I'm retarded and incoherent.

  • Jess Asken||

    What WMDs does Iran already possess?

  • Almanian||

    Saddam's missing mystery stash? No?

  • The Angry RPh||

    Which would you like them to have? Anything can be arranged.

  • robc||

    Im convinced that Israel can handle this situation the same way they handled it with Iraq in the early 80s.

  • robc||

    As noted somewhere earlier this week, Paul was the only congressman at the time who supported Israel's actions against Iraq.

  • robc||

    From some googling, he was one of a few congressman who opposed the resolution condemning Israel.

    So there were others. Dont have time now, but want to see who voted for it. Newt was in the House at the time, for example.

  • sarcasmic||

    But, but, but everyone says Ron Paul hates the Joooos!
    That just doesn't make any sense!

  • robc||

    Just yankin' ya. He never did any of those things, except maybe in some mirror universe where Cynthia McKinney and David Duke are Zionists.

  • ||

    If they've got the bunkerbusters to get to the underground facilities, they probably can.

    See, there's a case to be made that, for Israel, bombing the Iranian nuke facilities is self defense/national interest. For us, I just don't see it.

    Yes, yes, Iran with nukes is bad news for the US. But going-to-war bad news? I don't think so.

  • romulus augustus||

    Read Mark Helprin's piece in the WSJ Wednesday. Iran's gonna launch from barges in the Potomac and Hudson, from under your bed, maybe even your Mom's a secret Iranian nutjob with a bomb
    under her skirt!!!!

  • G.S. Patton||

    Men, all this stuff you've heard about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Americans traditionally love to fight. All real Americans, love the sting of battle.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    Those pants make you look like a dick.

  • G.S. Patton||

    Did I ever tell you about the time I designed a uniform for tank crewmen?

    It was green leather, it had red stripes and sort of a row of brass buttons down across here.

    And topped off by a gold football helmet.

    The Army rejected it, of course.

    Goddamn, it was beautiful.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    You probably spend a lot of time on menswear tumblrs, dont' you, George?

  • sarcasmic||

    Ready or not, here it comes!

  • ||

    I got $20 that says that, if we commit an actual, no fooling act of war against Iran (US planes bomb Iranian nuke sites), it is done illegally, with no Congressional authorization.

    And nothing else will happen.

  • romulus augustus||

    Barack Grofaz Obama!

  • Semanticist||

    That depends on how "act of war" is defined by law and whether a "policing action" or "kinetic military action" or "a big nuke in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's turban" are covered by that definition.

    See how lawyers earn their pay?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Those who express concern for Israel should consider joining the IDF. If they're goyim, they can still volunteer or donate their own money.The Israel firsters are no different than the welfare statists, with the exception of the beneficiary of "their" largess.

  • BakedPenguin||

    People like me who express concern for anyone and anything without actually donating their own labor or time to the cause are hypocrites and no better than welfare statists. Therefore, I should stop posting anything here because I'm wasting time discussing anything here when I could be out raising money for Code Pink, running for office on the Reform Party ticket, or protesting for Iran's right to have nukes and against Israel's right to buy American weapons to defend itself from Iran.

  • ||

    Is it actually impossible to buy a working nuke? That seems unlikely to me. And we're talking about an oil-exporting nation, so they have some money to play with.

  • ||

    While I am not advocating action against Iran, a poll of Americans shortly before WW II would have been similar or shown even less support for war.

    Even though I don't anticipate anything that would change public opinion quickly, it certainly is possible.

  • Brandon||

    Is Iran going to attack Pearl Harbor? Or maybe Key West?

  • Southerner||

    Who cares? If one enormous mushroom cloud pops up anywhere on the planet, it'll change a lot of public opinions overnight.

  • CE||

    So much for the "far outside the mainstream" claim made repeatedly against Ron Paul.

  • Southerner||

    Yeah, who's going to notice how far outside the mainstream he is after he loses and drops out of the race yet again?

  • ryan||

    May I please have your equations and criteria for the quantification of "level of confidence"? That must be fascinating.

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