Daily Israel Report

New Gallup And Pew Polls Confirm Perception of Iranian Threat

New polls show that Americans increasingly view Iran as a threat and would be prepared to use force to stop Iran from acquiring nukes.
By Amiel Ungar
First Publish: 2/17/2012, 11:56 AM

A week ago Israel National News reported on a Rasmussen poll showing that nearly half of the American people were willing to use force to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Now polls produced by the Gallup Institute and the Pew Research Center have revealed that this trend is accelerating. According to Pew, 58% of the respondents support using force to prevent Iran from getting nukes. This broke down into 74% of Republicans, 50% of Democrats and 55% of independents.

When it came to the question of supporting an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear program 62% of the Republicans favored such support as compared with 33% for Democrats and Independents. Support for Israel was lowest amongst women and younger voters.

Another important finding of the Pew poll was that by a whopping 64 to 21% Americans do not believe that the Iranian nuclear program can be stopped by economic sanctions.

Gallup reveals that after international terrorism the military power of Iran is considered a critical threat by most (61%) of Americans. Again there is a significant gap in terms of age. At least 63% of Americans 30 years and older believe Iranian military power constitutes a threat as compared with only 47% of Americans 18 to 29 years old.

A significant finding of the Gallup poll shows that the number of Americans viewing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a critical threat has markedly declined between 2004 and 2010. If in 2004 58% viewed this as a critical threat the number is now down to 47%. During the same time the number of Americans viewing Chinese military power as a critical threat rose from 39% to 46% while threats such as international terrorism and the conflict between India and Pakistan remain the same.

The findings for the Israel Arab conflict will be interpreted in different ways. The left in Israel and the Jewish left in the United States will spin the results pessimistically. They favor active American intervention in the "peace process" including if needed tough love for Israel. The lower figures show that the United States is increasingly adopting a plague on both your houses attitude that is bad for Israel.

An alternative take on the poll would argue that Americans have formed a better appreciation of the Middle East. They see that the Israel-Palestinian conflict is not the main source of regional instability and do not believe that American intervention is warranted till the Arab side is no longer committed to Israel's extinction.