June 29th, 2009
03:32 PM ET
11 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. ABMiller

    Let's see the questions - just another biased poll by the liberal media.

    June 29, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  2. Ellie, MD

    It doesn't matter, REPUBLICANS continue to IGNORE the voices of the American people. The GOP is ALL about interfering. They LOVE starting wars and chaos. That's the MO for the GOP, they are DEAF, DEAF, DEAF.

    Not surprising.

    June 29, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. JonDie

    Even if we thought had to intervene, eight years of Bush has made the US so weak and so despised around the world that the United States couldn't afford to intervene in Iran if we thought our lives depended on it.

    But the fact is that we cannot afford to intervene every time some makes us mad. In fact, in the past whenever we have intervened it has come back to bite us (e.g., we supported Al Qaeda against the Soviet Union and Saddam Hussein against Iran).

    June 29, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. Jason


    People don't want us to 'Intervene', just let the people in Iran know that America is behind anyone who thirsts for freedom.

    Meanwhile, Obama is busy 'Intervening' in Honduras, and lying about it also.

    June 29, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Mississippi Mike

    I want the US to interfere. Get Ahmedinajad out of office, overthrow the mullahcracy and let the people have their freedom.

    June 29, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. P. Y.

    Iran doesn't want us interfering.
    Do we plan to invade them too ?
    Where would the military come from ? For people who think this is the thing to do, are they willing to get in line and sign up for the military ?
    If we get the military,
    where do we get the money to finance another war ?
    We have to learn to stay out of the business of wanting to run other countries the way we run ours.
    Let Iran take care of their own problems.

    June 29, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. Tim

    Americans are smart enough to know that intervening in another nation's is not in our nature.

    It's only the party of "NO," the republicans, who can't quite grasp this concept. Thank heaven Bush is out of office, or our already deleted military would be heading into Tehran to overthrow the Iranian government.

    June 29, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  8. katiec

    Our president believes in diplomacy, negotiations and striving for peace with other countries. Thank God he is leading our country.
    The republicans believe in hot air, strutting before the cameras and
    trying to run the world. If Mccain had been elected, with his "bomb,
    bomb Iran" mentallity it is hard telling what would be happening.
    We certainly cannot afford and will not tolerate another misguided war.
    The republicans need to just go away.

    June 29, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. Dan in NY

    This just proves even more that the Republican party is out of touch with mainstream America. They went all over the media saying the President should intervene, should get involved, etc., hoping it would help restore their image and make President Obama look weak. Instead, most Americans agree that while what happened in Iran is disgraceful, the United States has enough to worry about at home without wasting time and money interfering in the elections of a sovereign nation. We wouldn't want them interfering here if they did not like who we elected!

    June 29, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. Obama Victim

    OK...this is embarassing.....but I do think Obozo is correct in not intervening.......but the idea that he can negotiate on equal terms with the oppressive dictatorship is now off the table............U S can not legitimize this government.

    June 29, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. Dale

    Ahmadinejad stirs up fear of the US in order to get his way when the people protest the election. (CIA killed Neda?! Come on.)

    Cheney / Bush stir up fear of terrorism to get their way for a dubious war against Iraq.

    Adolf Hitler stirs up fear of Jews to build his power in 1930's Germany.

    And so history repeats itself. Fearmongering is a universal political tool to control your mind. People learn but mankind does not.

    June 29, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  12. Ranjit

    No one is for military adventure. But due to lethargic response and confusing message of obama in the early stages of the protest, the momentum was lost. Now, the uprising is almost dead and if it fails, it would be Obama's Failure to use this situation to over throw the Iranian president.

    June 29, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  13. ABMiller

    So we shouldn't have interfered in Kuwait or Kosovo or Somalia either, I guess.
    You neo-libs can't manage one independent, critical, thought.
    But at least your new god could try to agree with his role-models - FDR and JFK - by supporting democratic ideals instead of the clerics, mullahs, and dictator kings, to whom he bows and supplicates.

    June 29, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  14. New Yorker

    Yeah, most Americans want to throw the freedom loving voters in Iran under the bus. That's why we have Obama in the White House; not enough freedom supporters in this back-slidden country.

    June 29, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. Joanna in PA

    That is correct, Iran needs to handle Iran! Obama please do not feed into the GOP, they are not on your team! If you do what they say, it will be very bad. Them the short term memory GOP will blame it on you!

    June 29, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. Dave in Canada

    It's all that interference in other countries that has caused so much hatred of America. Obama is correct in keeping out of this and other countries' messes.

    June 29, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  17. George

    Bush and Chenny would have voted the opposite. Forced freedom is the answer. What a joke those 2 were and are. 4200 died for forced freedom.

    June 29, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. The Party of NO stood calmly by for 8 year while the shrub raped and pillaged America, so, why would we listen to you now?

    Well, at least 72% of America still has the best interest of this country as the number one priority.

    Too bad the limbaugh lemmings, the neo-con cabal and the domestic "christian" Taliban were doing their best to make sure America and President Obama fails by insisting we respond.

    Your in the minority neo-con republiklans, get used to it!

    June 29, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  19. Laverne

    The republicans tried pulling one of their many stunts over the past 2 weeks, yelling and screaming because Obama did not involve our country in Iran's crisis. Obama did exactly what he should have done, condemned the actions, but not get directly involved in the process. I am so glad we have a president with a brain that actually work! The republicans knew what the outcome would be, they thought they were setting Obama up to look like a fool and as usual, it did not work!

    June 29, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  20. Charles

    Get real.. I'm glad Obama's reaction has been constantly right on this. Everyone knows how much we can do.

    June 29, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. Melissa

    Republicans seem to just love to kill people and force them to do what Republicans want. I say that we have had enough of that childish mindset. No more.

    June 29, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  22. The Party of NO is only “pro-life” to save a zygote now, so it can then kill the “babies” 18 years later as soldiers in an elective religious war.

    Of course the neo-cons disagree, they never want to pass up a chance to go to war!

    June 29, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  23. WIlly Brown

    The election in Iran was stolen and the current administration here is filled with a bunch of wussies

    June 29, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  24. Billy

    .... three out of four Americans don't want the U.S. directly intervene ...

    Thats not the same as the headlines – "Americans don't want..." Apparently Sean Hannitty who represents the 1/4 thinks the President is being a wimp on Iran. Limbaugh would blast him for not initiating an outright invasion of Iran.

    Lets bring real democracy and change to Iran. Invade NOW. They would welcome us as liberators. Its not for the oil, mind you, just good old democracy, you know. And of course possible WMDs, if thats convenient.

    June 29, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. matt

    so what do we do then Obama worshippers and Liberals let Iran build nuclear weapons and hear Ahmadinejad threaten to wipe Israel off the map some more well its great to hear that the almight dollar in your pocket makes you happy and you can rest your head at night in your three story houses but when it comes to other nations such as Israel you turn the blind eye Hitler shadow is moving across the middle east and Obama is Chamberlin of 1938

    June 29, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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