June 29th, 2009
03:32 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans don't want to intervene in Iran election crisis

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad chided President Obama on Saturday for 'meddling' in Iran.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad chided President Obama on Saturday for 'meddling' in Iran.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new national poll suggests that that nearly three out of four Americans don't want the U.S. directly intervene in the election crisis in Iran even though most Americans are upset by how the Iranian government has dealt with protests over controversial election results.

More than eight in ten questioned in the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, released Monday, think the election results released by the Iranian government were a fraud, with just one in ten believing the results were accurate. But only three in ten respondents say they are personally outraged by the results, with another 55 percent upset by not outraged.

Most Americans approve of how President Obama's handled the situation. And 74 percent think the U.S. government should not directly intervene in the post-election crisis, with one out of four feeling that Washington should openly support the demonstrators who are protesting the election results.

"Some 56 percent say that Obama's criticism of the Iranian regime has been about right. Only a third say that he has not gone far enough in his comments about the situation in Iran," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "If the number who are outraged by what's going on Iran were higher, we would probably see a higher number of Americans who say that Obama has not been tough enough on the leaders of that country."

"Interestingly, older Americans are more likely to be outraged. They may have bitter memories of the American hostages held by Iran for more than a year in 1979 and 1980," said CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider.

Iran's electoral oversight group, the Guardian Council, announced Monday it has confirmed the findings of the June 12 elections that gave incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad an overwhelming victory, state-run Press TV reported.

After lead opposition candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi and his supporters rejected the official results as rigged and hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets nationwide, the Guardian Council set up a committee to do a recount of about 10 percent of the votes cast. At least 17 protesters have been killed in the often violent protests, according to official statistics, and the actual number may be higher.

Sixty-one percent of people questioned in the poll say they approve the way President Barack Obama's responded to the events in Iran, with 36 percent disapproving of the actions the president's taken. The 61 percent approval on Iran is equal to Obama's overall approval rating as president.

"Democrats and Independents support Obama on this issue," Holland said. "Republicans do not, and they are most likely to say that he should be tougher on Iran."
"
The President has calibrated his comments to the Iranian government's increasing repression of the election protesters," said Schneider.

"It's not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling in Iranian elections," said Obama on June 16.

"He was cautious at first, but eventually outraged," added Schneider.

"The violence perpetrated against them is outrageous, and despite the government's efforts to keep the world from bearing witness to that violence, we see it and we condemn it," the persident also said on June 26.

More than four in ten think Iran represents a very serious threat to the United States, with another 36 percent feeling that Iran is a moderately serious threat. Thirteen percent say Iran is just a slight threat and 7 percent say it poses no danger to the U.S.

Even though nearly eight in ten consider Iran a serious or moderate threat, the poll suggests that a vast majority of Americans, 82 percent, don't think the government should take military action against Iran.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, with 1,026 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: Iran • President Obama
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Good speeches

    Seriously, to all the people who are saying Obama is a 'wimp', what exactly do you think he should do?

    This election was democratic and the Iranian government stole it from its own people. The people caught wind, and now the government is killing its own citizens for protesting. This, for once has nothing to do with the US, and Iranian government is looking for any reason to blame anyone but themselves.

    A 'wimp'? Please! Those saying this are giving no plan (as usual) to do anything, only saying that nothing is being done. I know what Iran needs, tax cuts!

    June 29, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    @ ABMiller, who said "just another biased poll by the liberal media."

    Right...the same "liberal media" that prints the baseless repetition of historically failed policies spewed by the GOPers in their tired criticism of the first POTUS we've had in decades to at least try to take a new approach to these issues. That liberal media?

    Keep on keepin on GOPers...doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result is what's gotten us where we are with foreign policy (and, hint hint hint, it's what's gotten your party where it is...yet you keep doing it anyway).

    June 29, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. gl, From Pittsburgh

    Interestingly, older Americans are more likely to be outraged. They may have bitter memories of the American hostages held by Iran for more than a year in 1979 and 1980," said CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider.

    We all know it is the older Amercians that are very bitter for one reason or another. It was the young people that got this President elected. Thanks GOD to the young generation of this country becasue without their votes we would have McCain/Palin in the White House.

    June 29, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  4. elle jay

    I wonder where the copy editor was on this article. There are multiple typos and errors-very sloppy!

    June 29, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  5. Joe in CA

    Why should we get involved? No one got involved in our stolen elections in 2000 or 2004. We need stay out of other countries busines and fix our own problems caused by the Bush / Cheney administration. REBUID OUR infrastructure and not Iraq's water and power plants we bombed in the first place.

    June 29, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Grant from Denver, CO

    matt-
    You aren't very smart, are you? The pro-Hitler camp got voted out of office in November, but hey...nice try.

    Why do you care if Israel is wiped off the map? Because someone told you you should? That's my guess. You and your friends are nothing more than pack-sniffers. Go away!

    June 29, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  7. BK

    @ ABMiller, who said "just another biased poll by the liberal media."

    Interesting. So every poll that disagrees with what you want to hear is biased, and every poll that agrees with you is not I take it? Maybe you should take a hard look at what you're basing this opinion on.

    June 29, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. Kevin B

    Mr Bush and company have squandered americas international prestige not to mention wearing out our military on two wars of which only one was really warrented.

    It good to hear that most americans understand that we are not in position to interfere in any nations internal affairs, nor should we, even if we were able at this time.

    June 29, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. Paul from Kissimmee

    It's funny how liberals think that you have to choose either nothing or war, just look at the comments. Obama said they should show restraint on protesters, Ahmedinajad scolded him for it, and he folded like a chair. He doesn't have to go to war, but he should speak up as the leader of the free world for the Iranian people. I also notice that the liberals still can't let go of 2000 and 2004. Maybe that's why you justify what acorn has done, or the black panthers at the Philly polls. You guys crack me up. Haha!

    June 29, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. changing my screen name to see if it helps getting my comments posted

    74% want the US to not intervene. So that means 26% does. Gee, I wonder what 26% of the population that is? Could it be the 26% that approved of Bush at the end of his term? Could it be the 26% that admit to being Republican/Conservative? Could it be the 26% that blindly disapproves of anything Obama does, be it spending money on the stimulus package or not having bacon on his burger?

    Nah! Couldn't be.

    June 29, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. John M in NoHo CA

    Would we have allowed Iran to intervene in our 2000 elections when Florida stopped its recount?

    June 29, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  12. rumrunner

    lets just leave the Iranians to their own devices

    June 29, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. stalbot

    As an aside, look at how the U.S. Government treated dissenters and demonstrators here in the 1960's. Anyone remember Kent State? The list is endless. It took us a long time to get where we are today.

    June 29, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  14. Realistic

    @Paul from Kissimmee:Maybe that's why you justify what acorn has done, or the black panthers at the Philly polls. You guys crack me up. Haha!
    ======================================================What is funny is the republicans whining about Obama. Who can't let go of an election.
    Now that cracks me up and for another 3+ years all we hear is whine..Whine..Acorn...Whine....

    June 29, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  15. steven

    The Iranian people must be very naive to believe that any theocracy would conduct itself with respect for the citizens and not it's own distorted ideological views of the supernatural and metaphysical.

    June 29, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  16. Independent_me

    Obama has been exactly right in his handling of the Iranian affair.

    What it showed me is how trigger-happy Republicans are, and how hastily they act without thinking of the consequences of their actions.

    Already, because of their bluster, Iran is blaming America for the uprising.

    June 29, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
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