Saturday, February 18, 2012

Almost no Americans consider Iran the most important issue

I don't know much about Poll Position, but it seems to be following standard and therefore reliable polling practices.

Almost no Americans consider Iran the most important issue facing the US' next president. The result is close to the margin of error, so it is impossible to confidently claim that the percentage of the US population who consider Iran the most important issue is greater than zero.
Americans believe the economy will be the number one issue facing whomever is elected U.S. president in November.

In our national scientific polling, we asked Americans to identify the most important issue facing the newly-elected president.

In response, 75% said the economy, 13% said health care, 3% said terrorism, 3% said Iran, 6% said some other issue, and 2% expressed no opinion.

Americans of all political affiliations agreed: 78% of Democrats, 74% of Republicans, and 72% of independent pinpointed the economy as issue number one for the president-elect.
While this is the response I would have expected when asking about the single most important issue, I suspect a relatively low proportion of Americans would even put Iran into the top three issues.

One conclusion I would draw is that the US does not have a population that would be willing to accept significant costs to make sure Iran does not enrich uranium.

More Americans than not believe Iran would respond to an attack by trying to attack the US mainland:
In our national scientific telephone survey, we asked this question: “If Israel or the U.S. attacks nuclear sites in Iran, do you believe that Iran or its allies will attempt to attack the U.S. mainland?”

49% said yes, 32% said no, and 19% expressed no opinion.

Democrats (50%), Republicans (47%), and independents (49%) agreed on the issue.
Americans do favor supporting Israel if Israel was to attack Iran.
Our national scientific telephone poll found Republicans would favor U.S. backing of Israel striking Iran by a 64%-15% margin, while Democrats would oppose doing so 47%-23%. Independents side with Republicans, backing the U.S. supporting any Israeli military action on Iran 51%-21%.

Overall nationwide, Americans favored backing any Israeli military action against Iranian nuclear facilities by a 47%-27% margin.
These Americans are far less informed than the US' foreign policy community, but would likely reverse positions and create a damaging backlash if the US ended up paying a heavy cost for any attack and Iran after the dust settled had either nuclear capabilities or nuclear weapons anyway.


Lidia said...

From those numbers one cannot help resuming that USA citizens are willing to risk death and destruction for supporting the aggression against the state they do NOT seem as important issue at all :( 

Or it could be that the questions were not that good. Even 9/11 has not taught Americans that USA imperialism could be dangerous for their health. What if the question were : given that Iran could retaliate for it, are you for USA support for Israel attack on Iran? I wonder, what the results it would bring?

lysander1 said...

 I second Lidia's comment. Americans have come to believe that war is relatively cost free. The vast majority of Americans do not join the military and so are safe from personal harm in the event of war. The financial costs of war are substantial, but through borrowed money and accounting trickery, most Americans do not perceive the costs, or attribute them to something else.

So I'm curious what the answer would be if the question is phrased "Do you support the US joining an Israeli attack on Iran, if there is a great likelihood Iran could shut off much of the worlds oil supply causing an economic depression?"

George Carty said...

Agree with your comments about how Americans have been cushioned from the real horrors of war, but according to Lidia's own ideology (which I of course disagree with) the United States (along with all other Western countries) would be reduced to a third-world standard of living anyway if they abandoned imperialism completely.  If that's the case, why shouldn't Americans and other Westerners fight in defence of colonialism, whatever the cost may be?

One could draw parallels with the Valkyrie plotters during World War II, who were mostly fairly deluded about the kind of peace terms they could expect if they overthrew the Nazi regime (many expected to be able to avoid Allied occupation and keep all of Hitler's pre-war gains).  If they HAD known about the talk in Allied circles (Morgenthau Plans and the like) they wouldn't even have made the attempt against Hitler, but instead fought to end alongside the very Nazis they hated so much.  "If that's all we've got to look forward to, we might as well go down fighting."

Lidia said...

1) The  "third-world standard of living" is NOT something natural. When states are free (or at least partially free) of colonialism they could manage better. 
2) So, my "own ideology" (or facts, as I see them) could be explained to the Western 99% thus - get rid of your 1% and you (and others) could be far better off.
3) Anyway, the last years the part of spoils of imperialism which go to the 99% of imperialist states is much less then before. So, why do not try something new, for starters?
4) About Valkyrie plotters - by the logic of GC they would not give a damn about even more death and destruction of their country? After all, even one year less of this war would be much easier to Germany, even with occupation and so on. Given that the plotters were from the ruling class (if I got it right) I could believe in this, but still, people usually try for something better, even if the better is not much. 

So, if asked the right question, some Americans could even respond in sane manner :)

lysander1 said...

Hard to tell how that would have worked out. If the plotters had been successful, their tack would have been to appeal to the west to preserve Germany as "bastion" against the USSR. I doubt Roosevelt would have bought it, but likely they would have found sympathizers in the allied camp.

Of course, the closer it was to the end of the war the worse the terms would have been. A coup in early 1943 might have brought them reasonable terms. I'm sure that a lot of German generals were smart enough to read the writing on the wall as early as 1942, when the USSR did not collapse quickly as had been planned.

At any rate. US imperialism is hardly a money maker for most Americans, though it certainly is a money maker for the sectors that run the country. So it will continue until it is no longer possible to pursue.