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FOX News Poll: U.S. Should Take Tougher Line With Iran

Most Americans believe Iran’s nuclear program is for military purposes, and more voters would rather see the United States take a tougher line with Iran than a softer diplomatic path. In addition, three times as many people think the real reason the president of Iran wanted to visit ground zero was to honor the terrorists responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center than to honor the victims killed there. These are just some of the findings from the latest FOX News poll.

Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from Sept. 25 to Sept. 26. The poll has a 3-point error margin.

Fully 80 percent of Americans say they believe Iran’s nuclear program is intended for military purposes, not for peaceful energy purposes as the country claims. Furthermore, by a 50 percent to 31 percent margin, voters say the United States should take a tougher line with Iran, including military action if necessary, rather than a softer line, including more diplomacy.

Click here for results of the poll.(pdf)

Even so, if diplomacy fails to convince Iran to end its nuclear program before President Bush leaves office, a 54 percent majority would rather he leave dealing with Iran to the next president than have Bush take military action to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities (29 percent).

“All the controversy over the Iranian president’s visit to New York this past week may have somewhat inflated feelings about Iran,” comments Opinion Dynamics CEO John Gorman. “While it is clear that Americans view Iran as a potential threat, and a possible military target, they don’t want President Bush rushing into Iran if his term is ending.”

Ahmadinejad’s Visit to New York City

While in New York City for the United Nation’s General Assembly, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asked for permission to lay a wreath at ground zero and tour the site — a request that was denied by the New York Police Department. The poll finds that Americans question the president of Iran’s motives for wanting to visit the site, which many feel is sacred ground.

Over half of Americans (54 percent) think Ahmadinejad’s purpose would have been to honor the terrorists responsible for the World Trade Center attack. Some 17 percent believe he wanted to honor the victims who died there, and 29 percent were unable to give an opinion.

During his trip, Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia University at the institution’s invitation. Views are somewhat divided on Columbia’s decision to invite the controversial leader to speak: 41 percent of Americans approve and 51 percent disapprove.

Democrats (48 percent) are much more likely than Republicans (29 percent) to approve of Columbia having the Iranian leader speak, and younger Americans (48 percent) are more inclined to approve than seniors (34 percent).