by Eva Galanes-Rosenbaum
Two polls released this morning have rather different takes on the Iran deal. One, from J Street, confirms last week’s LA Jewish Journal poll that American Jews broadly support the nuclear agreement, 60–40%. The other, from CNN/ORC, is an outlier from the bulk of post-deal polls in finding that Americans want Congress to reject the deal. This conclusion, however, is likely because of the poor construction of the poll.
Contrary to Scott Clement’s take in The Fix in The Washington Post today, the majority of post-deal polls on the P5+1 agreement with Iran show that Americans support the deal. Clement appears to have missed three or four polls from his analysis—all of which show majority or plurality support.
J Street’s poll asked 1,000 American Jews a few questions about the deal. It found that 79% had heard some or a lot about the deal—higher than the general population. Jews broadly support the agreement by 60–40%, which is also higher than the general population. And Jews want their members of Congress to approve the deal at the same rates, 60–40%.
J Street’s poll aligns with the majority of post-deal polls, both of Jewish American opinion and of the general population (see below). This isn’t surprising, given the tendency of Jews to align with the Democratic Party, as I wrote previously.
CNN’s poll, on the other hand, appears to be an outlier in both its construction and its results. First, the single poll question about Iran presents respondents with a factually incorrect statement: “As you may know, the U.S. Congress must approve the agreement…before it can take effect.” The Iran Nuclear Review Act signed into law in May provided Congress the option of either rejecting or approving the deal, or, doing nothing at all. Moreover, Congress must have a super-majority to override President Obama’s promised veto if it hopes to actually stop the agreement.
Second, as seen with several other post-deal polls, many Americans do not feel they know enough about the deal to have an opinion. Any methodologically sound poll aimed at finding out what Americans really think about the deal should provide a brief description of the deal. Otherwise, it’s just finding a proxy for partisanship. CNN/ORC described the deal as “the agreement the United States and five other countries reached with Iran that is aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons,” a description so general that it could have been written it 18 months ago.
The preponderance of post-deal polling data continues to show that Americans—including American Jews—support the deal, and want Congress to let the international community get on with it, despite reservations they have about Iran itself:
- ABC/WaPo: 56–37% support a deal
- YouGov: 43–30% support the deal
- CATO/YouGov: 58–40% support the deal; 53–40% say Congress should allow the deal to go forward
- LA Jewish Journal: 49–31% of American Jews support; plus both Jews and the general population want Congress to support the deal
- Reuters: 42–29% of likely voters support, 36–26% overall support
- Americans United for Change/PPP: 54–38% support the deal
Photo: anti-war protest in Defiance, Ohio in 2008 courtesy of Debra Sweet via Flickr.
Eva Galanes-Rosenbaum analyzes public opinion and media coverage of democracy, civil rights, and foreign policy issues for ReThink Media. She dabbles in data visualization and was previously associate director at the Early Voting Information Center.