Foreign Policy

Reason-Rupe: Support for Military Intervention in Iran Drops When Iraq War Considered

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The latest Reason-Rupe poll finds that nearly half of Americans favor the United States attacking Iran to destroy or delay its nuclear program, if Iran were close to being able to produce a nuclear weapon. Under these conditions, 45 percent oppose military intervention, and intensity is split with 30 percent strongly supporting intervention and 30 percent strongly opposing it.

However, this support quickly recedes when potential military intervention is compared to the war in Iraq. Instead, 56 percent of respondents oppose attacking Iraq if it "would start a war that is similar in length and costs to the war in Iraq." Intensity is on the side of those who oppose intervention with 42 percent who strongly oppose compared to 20 percent who strongly favor.

These data demonstrate that although Americans are concerned about Iran having nuclear capabilities, there are limits to what Americans are willing to pay to stop Iran, especially when Iran's nuclear capabilities are not fully known. 

Full poll results found here.

Nationwide telephone poll conducted March 10th-20th of both mobile and landline phones, 1200 adults, margin of error +/- 3 percent. Columns may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding. Full methodology can be found here

Emily Ekins is the director of polling for Reason Foundation where she leads the Reason-Rupe public opinion research project, launched in 2011. Follow her on Twitter @emilyekins.