Poll: American public critical of Trump's handling of Iran

Reuters/Ipsos poll: 53% of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of Iran, 71% believe US will be at war with Iran in near future.

Ben Ariel,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

The American public is increasingly critical of President Donald Trump’s handling of Iran after he ordered the US military to kill top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday finds.

The poll also found that a majority of US adults now expect the countries to be at war in the near future.

The national opinion poll found that 53% of adults in the US disapprove of Trump’s handling of Iran, an increase of about 9 percentage points from a similar poll in the middle of December.

The number of adults who “strongly disapprove” of Trump’s actions in Iran – 39% – is up 10 points from the December poll.

The response was largely split along party lines, with disapproval up over the past month among Democrats and independents, while it did not change among Republicans.

About nine in 10 Democrats and five in 10 independents disapprove of Trump’s actions in Iran, the poll found. Among Republicans, one in 10 disapprove. One in 10 Democrats, four in 10 independents and eight in 10 Republicans approve of Trump’s handling of Iran.

The survey ran January 6-7, shortly after Trump ordered the drone strike in Iraq that hit Soleimani. Iraq’s parliament called for American troops to withdraw from the country, and mourners in Iran crowded onto the streets, chanting “Death to America!”

Trump’s overall popularity remained stable following his strike on Soleimani, with 41% approving of his performance in office and 54% disapproving, the poll found.

Americans also appeared to be much more concerned now about the risk of war with Iran.

A separate Reuters/Ipsos poll that ran Jan. 3-6 found that 41% consider Iran to be an “imminent threat” to the United States, up 17 points from a similar poll that ran in May 2019.

It also found that 71% of Americans believe that the US will be at war with Iran within the next few years, up 20 points from May’s poll.

In the aftermath of Soleimani’s elimination, the US and Iran have been involved in back-and-forth threats.

Soleimani’s successor, Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani, threatened the US hours after the air strike which killed Soleimani, saying, “Everyone should be patient a little to see the bodies of American soldiers all over the Middle East.”

On Saturday, Trump threatened to attack 52 Iranian sites, including sites that are important to Iranian culture, if the Islamic Republic strikes any Americans or American assets.

On Sunday, Trump doubled down on his threat and asserted that cultural sites in Iran are appropriate sites for retaliation.

“They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. they’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn’t work that way," he told reporters.

On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded to Trump’s threats and said nobody should threaten his country.

“Those who refer to the number 52 should also remember the number 290. #IR655. Never threaten the Iranian nation,” Rouhani tweeted, referring to the 1988 shooting down of an Iranian airline by a US warship in which 290 people were killed.