WASHINGTON (AP) — Most Americans think of Iran as an enemy of the United States, but a narrow majority still supported a diplomatic relationship in a poll conducted on the eve of the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
Things to know about public opinion on Iran:
MOST WANT DIPLOMACY, LIKE SANCTIONS
A slim majority of Americans (51 percent) said the United States should have a diplomatic relationship with Iran, the AP-GfK poll found, slightly more than the 45 percent who said it should not.
At the same time, sanctions against Iran were popular. Altogether, 45 percent of Americans in the poll said the sanctions should remain at their current level and 32 percent thought they should be increased. Just 12 percent thought sanctions should be decreased and 7 percent said they should be eliminated. The question did not mention the possibility of reducing sanctions in exchange for a nuclear deal.
AMERICANS SEE IRAN AS ENEMY
A majority of Americans — 56 percent — consider Iran to be an enemy, the poll found. An additional 31 percent consider Iran to be unfriendly, but not an enemy.
Large majorities of Americans across party lines said Iran is at least unfriendly to the United States. More than 70 percent of Republicans, half of independents and 45 percent of Democrats said before the nuclear deal that Iran is an enemy.
Nearly half of those who said Iran is an enemy, but just 14 percent of those who considered it unfriendly, wanted to increase sanctions.
REPUBLICANS LIKE A HARDLINE APPROACH
Among Republicans, 6 in 10 said the United States should not have a diplomatic relationship with Iran, while two-thirds of Democrats said it should.
Half of Republicans said sanctions against Iran should be increased, while Democrats and independents were more likely to say they should be kept the same as now.
MOST DISAPPROVE OF OBAMA'S HANDLING
No polls have been conducted since the deal was reached Tuesday, but the new AP-GfK poll suggests President Barack Obama has an uphill struggle to earn the public's trust on the issue.
Before the agreement was announced, 6 in 10 Americans disapproved of Obama's handling of the U.S. relationship with Iran, while just over a third approved.
Not surprisingly, the vast majority of Republicans registered disapproval of Obama's handling of the relationship, but about 7 in 10 independents did, too. Two-thirds of Democrats approved of Obama's handling of the issue.
The AP-GfK Poll of 1,004 adults was conducted online Thursday to Monday, 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.
AP-GfK Poll: http://www.ap-gfkpoll.com