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04/21/06 FOX News Poll: U.S. Should Have Iran War Plans Ready

Most Americans agree with the U.S. position of trying diplomacy first with Iran, but want to keep military options open. In addition, a clear majority thinks having war plans for Iran already prepared is the right thing to do, according to the latest FOX News Poll.

By a 62 percent to 27 percent margin, Americans say they agree with the U.S. position for handling the nuclear weapons situation with Iran — try to find diplomatic solutions, but keep military action as an option. A large majority of Republicans (75 percent) agree with this position, as do a slim majority of Democrats (52 percent).

Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News on April 18 and April 19.

The poll finds disagreement with those who say the United States lacks the military strength to take action against Iran while it has so many troops committed in Iraq. If military action were to become necessary, more than half of Americans (56 percent) think the U.S. military currently has the strength to defeat Iran. About a third (34 percent) disagrees.

Groups traditionally more hawkish, such as men and Republicans, are more likely to think the U.S. military has the strength to defeat Iran. Among Republicans, 66 percent agree, compared to 49 percent of Democrats. Similarly, 64 percent of men think the military could defeat Iran, but that drops to 49 percent among women.

“The fact that a third of Americans say we aren’t strong enough to defeat Iran and another 10 percent aren’t sure is significant,” comments Opinion Dynamics Chairman John Gorman. “ I doubt there would have been that much pessimism about American capabilities before Iraq. Many people clearly worry about repeating the Iraq experience.”

Overall, a sizable majority thinks it would be “responsible” for the United States to have war plans for Iran already prepared. About two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) think it would be responsible; 26 percent say “irresponsible.”

While there is no real gender gap on the war plans issue (69 percent of men and 64 percent of women agree), there is a striking partisan difference: Fully 80 percent of Republicans think the U.S. should have Iran war plans prepared, compared to 59 percent of Democrats.

Views are mixed on whether it is acceptable to allow Iran to become a nuclear nation. Forty-four percent of Americans think the United States could co-exist with a nuclear Iran; almost as many — 40 percent — disagree.

If the United Nations fails to take a hard line with Iran on nukes, over a third of Americans (36 percent) think the United States should take a hard line with the U.N. and stop paying dues, though a 49 percent plurality would continue paying.

In the end, by a slim 10-percentage point margin, people think the United States will have to take military action against Iran.

PDF: Click here for full poll results.

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