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.