Poll: Americans Favor Iran Sanctions

Seven in 10 Americans favor international economic sanctions aimed at dissuading Iran from enriching uranium that might be used in nuclear weapons, while fewer -- four in 10 -- advocate more direct action, U.S. bombing of Iran's nuclear sites.

The International Atomic Energy Agency meets in emergency session next week to discuss Iran's resumption of nuclear development. While the Iranian government says it is refining uranium for nuclear power, there is broad international concern about its weapons potential.

Sampling, data collection and tabulation for this poll were done by TNS.

This ABC News/Washington Post poll finds sanctions the preferred option across the political spectrum, backed by sizable majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents alike, ranging from about six in 10 Democrats to more than eight in 10 Republicans.

Republicans are also the most likely to favor a U.S. military attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. Indeed a narrow majority of Republicans support such action, while about six in 10 Democrats and independents oppose it.

Iran and Nuclear Technology
To prevent Iran from developing nuclear technology, would you support or oppose ...
  Support Oppose
International sanctions?   71%   26%
U.S. bombing?   42   54

Men are more likely than women to support economic either sanctions or military action, even when controlling for partisanship.

Percent Support to Prevent Iranian Nuclear Development
  All Dems Rep Ind Men Women
Imposing sanctions   71%   59%   83%   74%   76%   66%
U.S. bombing   42   37   52   41   50   35

A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll last week found more support, 57 percent, for military action against Iran if it continues to produce material that can be used to develop nuclear weapons. In a different approach, the question in this poll took account of Iran's claim that it's trying to develop nuclear power, not weapons.

In past crises, support public for military action has tended to rest on a range of factors, including the level of perceived threat, the nature of the proposed action, the extent to which non-military options have been pursued and the presence or lack of international cooperation. And when the president has made a strong case for military action, the public has tended -- at least initially -- to rally to his side.


Americans' views on the war in Iraq relate directly to their positions on economic or military action against Iran. People who think the war in Iraq was worth fighting are 20 points more likely than their opposites to support sanctions and 27 points more likely to favor bombing.

While majorities support sanctions regardless of their views on the Iraq war, nearly six in 10 war supporters favor bombing Iran, while about half as many war opponents agree. Even controlling for partisanship, views on the Iraq war are linked to support for action against the Iran.


This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Jan. 23-26, 2006, among a random national sample of 1,002 adults. The results have a three-point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, PA.

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