AP-GfK Poll: Few trust Iran to follow through on agreement

AP News
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Posted: May 12, 2015 1:20 PM
AP-GfK Poll: Few trust Iran to follow through on agreement

WASHINGTON (AP) — A majority of Americans like the idea of the preliminary deal struck between Iran and six world powers, including the United States, to limit its nuclear program, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. But few Americans believe Iran will live up to its end of the bargain.

The preliminary deal will be a key point of discussion on Thursday when President Barack Obama hosts top officials from Gulf Arab countries at Camp David to reassure the anxious allies about the U.S. overtures to Iran.

Five things to know about public opinion on a potential deal with Iran:

MOST APPROVE OF DEAL

According to the new AP-GfK survey, 54 percent of Americans approve and 43 percent disapprove of the preliminary agreement between Iran, the United States and five other world powers to curb Iran's nuclear program. That's slightly fewer than the 60 percent of Americans in an AP-GfK poll conducted in 2014 who approved of an earlier interim agreement reached by the same group of nations.

The U.S., Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China are aiming to finalize a deal with Iran by June 30 that puts limits on Iranian programs that could be used to make nuclear arms. In exchange, economic sanctions on Iran would be lifted over time. Tehran denies any interest in such weapons but is negotiating in hopes of relief from billions of dollars in economic sanctions.

In the new poll, 7 in 10 Democrats, 4 in 10 Republicans and just under half of independents approve of the preliminary deal. Half of liberal to moderate Republicans but only 3 in 10 conservative Republicans say they approve of the deal.

FEW CONFIDENT IN IRAN

Although most approve of the agreement in principle, only 3 percent of Americans say they're very confident Iran will follow through, including allowing inspections of its nuclear facilities, shipping plutonium out of the country, and shutting down almost half of its uranium-enriching centrifuges. Another 25 percent are moderately confident, while 69 percent are not too confident or not confident at all.

Even among those who say they approve of the preliminary deal, just 5 percent are very confident in Iran to follow through, while 35 percent are moderately confident and 59 percent are not confident.

The lack of confidence in Tehran crosses party lines, with no more than 5 percent of Democrats, Republicans or independents expressing a lot of confidence that it will follow through on its obligations under the deal.

MOST CHOOSE ISRAEL OVER IRAN DEAL

Americans' desire to keep a positive relationship with Israel could stand in the way of their approval of a deal. If forced to choose, 53 percent think it's more important for Obama to maintain the United States' relationship with Israel, even if it means acceding to Israel's wishes to stop negotiations with Iran to curb its nuclear program, while 44 percent say it's more important to negotiate a deal with Iran, even if it damages the U.S. relationship with Israel.

Even among those who approve of the preliminary deal in principle, 4 in 10 say the U.S. relationship with Israel is more important.

Most Democrats in the new poll think negotiating a deal with Iran is more important, while most Republicans think maintaining the U.S. relationship with Israel is more important. Independents are more likely to say that the U.S. relationship with Israel is more important than a deal with Iran, 49 percent to 41 percent.

FEW PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION

Few Americans are paying close attention to the Iran negotiations — just 16 percent say they're following very or extremely closely, 27 percent are following somewhat closely, and 55 percent aren't following closely at all.

Twenty-two percent of Republicans, including 28 percent of conservative Republicans, say they've been following very closely, making them significantly more likely than any other party group to be closely following the talks.

OBAMA ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Fifty-seven percent disapprove of how Obama is handling the U.S. role in world affairs, while only 42 percent approve. That's up slightly since December, when 38 percent said they approved of how Obama is handling the issue.

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The AP-GfK Poll of 1,077 adults was conducted online April 23-27, using a sample drawn from GfK's probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Respondents were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods, and later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn't otherwise have access to the Internet were provided access at no cost to them.

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Online:

AP-GfK Poll: http://www.ap-gfkpoll.com