Poll: Most Americans Say Trump Raised Chance of Iran Conflict

(CN) – A majority of Americans say the Trump administration’s approach to Iran has boosted chances of a major military conflict, despite a partisan divide in support for the recent drone strike that killed an Iranian general, the Pew Research Center reported Wednesday.

A boy in Tehran carries a portrait of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq, (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

In a survey of 1,504 adults between Jan. 8 and 13, researchers found that 54% of respondents thought the Trump administration’s strategy on Iran has increased the likelihood of major conflict between the two countries.

Only 17% said President Donald Trump’s policy toward Iran has lowered chances of a military clash, while 26% said it has made no difference.

When asked about the Jan. 3 U.S. drone strike that killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, 48% of respondents overall said it was the right decision, compared to 43% who said it was wrong.

Democrats and Republicans were in clear opposition regarding the strike. An 84% majority of Republicans said it was the right decision, compared to just 17% of Democrats.

Breaking the question down among other demographics, Trump’s decision to order the drone strike was supported most by men (58%), white respondents (58%), those between 50 and 64 years old (56%), respondents over 65 (52%), and those without a college degree (51%).

Bolstering Democratic opposition to the strike were black respondents (71%), Hispanics (61%), those between 18 and 29 years old (51%), and respondents with post-graduate degrees (56%).

Eighty-one percent of Democrats surveyed generally felt that recent actions against Iran will increase the likelihood of additional conflict. A plurality of Republicans (37%) said those actions would not make much difference, while 34% said they decrease the likelihood of conflict. Meanwhile, 26% of Republicans felt that the Trump administration’s recent actions would increase the likelihood of conflict, reflecting a lack of clear consensus in the GOP.

Among Republicans who identified themselves as more conservative, just 20% said recent actions against Iran were likely to cause further conflict.

Pluralities of respondents in every other demographic measured, stratified by gender, age, and education level, said they expected more conflict with Iran.

Though Republicans seemed divided over whether the strike that killed Soleimani would lead to more eventual conflict, a majority (56%) felt that the Trump administration’s actions have made the U.S safer. In contrast, 75% of Democratic respondents said those actions have made the U.S. less safe.

Republicans were also significantly more likely to trust Trump’s statements about tensions in Iran, with 83% who said they trusted those words at least a fair amount. Almost half of Republicans, 49%, said they trusted his statements a great deal.

In contrast, 85% of Democrats said they did not trust Trump’s statements on Iran much, with 60% saying they did not trust him at all.

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