By Jim Lobe (source: LobeLog)
Photo: Senator Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party leadership
(photo by Gage Skidmor)
The Chicago Council for Global Affairs (CCGA) has just released the highlights of a public opinion survey taken in late May and early June concerning public opinion on Iran’s nuclear program. The numbers should encourage the Obama administration in its drive to conclude a deal between the P5+1 and Tehran in the next week. (Knowledgeable sources indicate that an announcement could come as early as this weekend.) The full results of the poll, including the topline, will be released Monday, but what follows are some of the “highlights” it released Thursday.
Particular notable is the finding that, despite the virtually universal opposition to the deal among both the declared Republican presidential candidates and the Republican leadership in Congress, including ever-more-frequent appeals to the administration to walk away from the negotiations (see here and here and here), it appears that most self-identified Republican voters are split on the issue (46% support, 51% oppose). This suggests that the institutional Republican leadership’s position on Iran, overwhelmingly hostile and hawkish, fails to reflect the diversity of opinion among the party’s rank and file. This discrepancy could be explained by the disproportionate influence exerted at the party’s national level by major donors such as Sheldon Adelson and Paul Singer.
This finding is roughly consistent with the results of polls in three states with very different political tendencies-Maryland (solid red state), Oklahoma (solid blue), and Virginia (purple)-released just last week by the Program for Public Consultation of the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy. After being given a fairly detailed briefing of the background to and the likely contours of the prospective deal, more than seven in 10 registered voters, including six in 10 self-declared Republicans, said they would favor a deal that would curb Iran’s uranium program in exchange for lifting sanctions. Six in 10 Republicans said they would support such an agreement.
Here are the CCGA poll’s highlights:
Incidentally, the CCGA Wednesday released another poll-on public attitudes toward relations with Cuba-which didn’t get much media attention, probably because it coincided with Obama’s announcement that the U.S. and Cuba will re-open embassies in their respective countries later this month. Although the Republican presidential candidates and congressional leadership all predictably denounced the move, the survey found strong, across-the-board support for going even farther in normalizing relations with Havana.
Asked whether they supported or opposed ending the trade embargo with Cuba, two thirds (67%) of all respondents opted for the former, including 59% of self-identified Republicans. It’s really pretty remarkable how isolated the party’s leadership has become from its grassroots on key foreign-policy issues and helps demonstrate how much it has become hostage to special interests.
About the Author:
Jim Lobe is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy, particularly the neoconservative influence in the Bush administration. The Washington Bureau Chief of the international news agency Inter Press Service (IPS), Lobe has written for various outlets and was featured in BBC and ABC television documentaries about motivations for the US invasion of Iraq. Read his complete biography.
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