Fox News Poll: 65 percent say use force to stop Iran, 84 percent call possible deal 'bad idea'

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Americans fear disaster if Iran gets nuclear weapons -- and support military force to stop it.

According to a new Fox News poll, voters feel:

- It would be “a disaster” if Iran obtains the capability to use nuclear weapons.

- The U.S. has not been aggressive enough in stopping Iran from getting nukes.

- U.S. military action is the right thing to do to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

- A deal that just delays Iran’s nuclear time-table is a bad idea.

- Barack Obama is a weak negotiator with foreign leaders.

- It was a good idea to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress.


Here are the details of the poll:

A 57-percent majority feels the U.S. has not been aggressive enough in trying to get Iran to stop building a nuclear weapons program. Another 27 percent say the action has been about right, while just 7 percent say the U.S. has been too aggressive.

Some 55 percent think it would be “a disaster” if Iran were to obtain the capability to use nuclear weapons, while 40 percent sees it as “a problem that can be managed.” Those sentiments are unchanged from 2010.

There’s a huge gap between Democrats and Republicans on how worrisome an Iran with nukes would be. By a 10 percentage-point margin, Democrats are more likely to say it’s a problem that could be managed (51 percent) over a disaster (41 percent). Republicans, by a 42-point margin, say a nuclear Iran would be a disaster (70-28 percent).

Overall, two-thirds of voters (65 percent) favor the U.S. using military action, if necessary, to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Just 28 percent are opposed.

To varying degrees, majorities of Republicans (81 percent), Democrats (54 percent) and independents (53 percent) agree on using force to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

In a Monday interview with Reuters, President Obama said, “If, in fact, Iran is willing to agree to double-digit years of keeping their program where it is right now and, in fact, rolling back elements of it that currently exist ... if we’ve got that, and we’ve got a way of verifying that, there’s no other steps we can take that would give us such assurance that they don’t have a nuclear weapon."

Voters overwhelmingly reject that deal: 84 percent -- including 80 percent of Democrats -- think it’s a bad idea to allow Iran to get nuclear weapons 10 years from now in return for agreeing it won’t obtain nukes before then.

While 34 percent of voters think Obama is a strong negotiator with foreign leaders, a 59-percent majority says he’s a weak one. That’s up from 54 percent who felt that way a year ago.

More than a quarter of Democrats (29 percent) join large majorities of independents (67 percent) and Republicans (83 percent) in saying Obama is a bad negotiator on the international stage.

By a 56-27 percent margin, voters say it is a good thing Congressional leaders invited Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress.

The White House was displeased House Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu to speak. No members of the Obama administration attended the address on Tuesday in which the prime minister argued against the president’s current position and the idea of making any deal that would allow Iran to gain nuclear weapon capabilities.

The poll was conducted Sunday through Tuesday nights, so one night (about a third of the interviewing) was done after Netanyahu’s speech.

More voters think the Obama administration “is not supportive enough” of Israel (41 percent) than say it has been “too supportive” (14 percent) or is “about right” in its backing (35 percent).

A 55-percent majority of Democrats says White House support of Israel is on target. Republicans (68 percent) are more than four times as likely as Democrats (17 percent) to want Obama to do more for Israel.

Meanwhile, Republicans are more likely to have a favorable than an unfavorable view of Netanyahu by 33 points. It’s the reverse among Democrats, as they are more likely to view him negatively by 21 points.

All in all, more voters view the country of Israel positively (58 percent favorable vs. 25 percent unfavorable) than feel that way about the Democratic Party (43 vs. 50 percent), the GOP (41 vs. 52 percent), Barack Obama (43 vs. 54 percent) or Benjamin Netanyahu (32 vs. 26 percent). More than four voters in 10 were unable to rate Netanyahu (19 percent “can’t say” and 24 percent “never heard of”).

Currently 42 percent of voters approve of the job Obama is doing as president, while 53 percent disapprove. A month ago it was 45-49 percent. A year ago it was 38-54 percent (March 2014).

The Fox News poll is conducted by telephone with live interviewers under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R). The 1,011 registered voters were reached via landline and cell phone numbers randomly selected for inclusion in this nationwide survey from March 1-3, 2015. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.