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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/06/27/iran.obama/art.smile.afp.gi.jpg caption="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. annie against biased news

    Once again – who takes these polls and who is polled – acorn?

    June 29, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. beachgirl

    The World always saw 'America' as the leader and rescuer. However during Bush's era........they all hate America because we tried and tried to dictate 'our' views and 'our way of living" to other countries.

    WRONG........... we should let the countries deal with their own issues and support them in a different way, without dictating them like Bush did!

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

    This means John McCain and you right-wing nuts were wrong again. Ha!

    June 29, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. bdp

    hey new yorker-
    why don't you move to texas and secede with the rest of the hate filed right wing wackos. that way the 70million people that voted against guys like you and your angry party do not have to listen to your irrational crap

    June 29, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. Joe

    Ironically I'm sure Republicans would be screaming to leave Iran alone if Obama said that we should intervene.

    I wonder how Americans would respond...

    June 29, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  6. gl, From Pittsburgh

    Mccain got it wrong again that why is his not the president.

    June 29, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  7. Lynn

    Mr Schneider: President Obama reacted, as he should have, to what was happening in Iran. He was neither "cautious" as he was waiting as was the saner members of the world to see what would happen within Iran; even the opposition and protestors of the election were hopeful.

    As events took place and as the Iranian gov't acted with brutal and dictatorail and brutal power, Pres. Obama reacted with outrage as did people inside and outside of Iran, The President exactly how an intelligent, thoughtful leader of a foreign country should.

    Why doesn't this analysis inculde the fact that the wreckless comments and criticism of Pres. Obama's reactied pushed by the CNN state that he chose the right course and you and the Republicans, once again, were wrong on foreign policy?

    June 29, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. Wolves 4 Palin Charlotte, NC

    I want to get with John McInsane and his Yaya Sisters, Lindsey Graham and Joe LIEberman and invade Russia, Somalia and Iran. I say, if contries don't agree with us... make up an excuse, i.e., "WMD's," and send in the troops.

    June 29, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  9. gl, From Pittsburgh

    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.

    This is why the Republicans lost becasue they are warmongers.

    June 29, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  10. The Original No Incumbents 2010

    Rob June 29th, 2009 3:57 pm ET

    This means John McCain and you right-wing nuts were wrong again. Ha!

    No, it means CNN knows who to poll. Demography is relative.

    June 29, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  11. LIChris

    @Ranjit – It is not Obama's place to overthrow the Iranian president. Iranians need to work things out themselves. And if Mousavi is succesful in overthrowing Ahmedinejad, that doesn't leave us in a better position in terms of international relations. Do you think the new regime is going to forgo the pursuit of nuclear power and weapons? Do you think the new regime will no longer consider Israel or the Sunnni neighbors a threat.

    Just shows how important our last election was. The out of tough GOP could be making the calls on this....scary.

    June 29, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  12. LacrosseMom

    THANK YOU AMERICA! Haven't we intervened enough in the Middle East??? For years, the U.S. supported both with weapons AND money the Shah of Iran, and his reign of TERROR, on the people of Iran!

    The people overthrew the shah and look at what they got! Theocracy!

    Now the people are out in the streets protesting and speaking up for their Freedom!

    The U.S. can not afford to continue to be the world's policeman, we have enough problems at home to deal with!

    Freedom is not Free! And Democracy can not be IMPORTED!

    June 29, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  13. Polar Bears Against Palin

    Some of these neo-cons had no problem with the rigging of the 2000 election in this country. Suddenly, they care about democracy.

    Cowboy diplomacy is dead. The American people have woken up.

    June 29, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  14. LacrosseMom

    @ ABMiller....... We can not afford to intervene! Also, the GOPers like to saber-rattle but HOW can you REALLY help Iran?!

    Democracy can not be imported nor demanded, it must be born in the hearts and minds of the Iranian people or it will not take root!

    June 29, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  15. Daron

    I so confused how so many people think we have a say so in the matter of Iran's leadership. Even during all the protest coverage (or after), I didn't once, see an interview or information from protestors or protest leaders asking for the US (or anyone else) to intervene. Or did I miss it?

    June 29, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  16. Debra Austin, Texas

    Mississippi Mike, are you enlisting for the war in Iran? If not, shut up.

    June 29, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  17. DLHanna

    The Iranians know that whatever the Ayatolah says, goes. Therefore, even though the recount was of 10% of the votes, it doesn't matter. And what would an American influence do- create an Iranian electoral college? The popular vote is used as part of a backup system in the event of an electoral draw. It's also legal to buy college votes. John Quincy Adams was the first, and then we got Bushed!

    June 29, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  18. Albert

    Why are we is so concerned about Iran's elections????????

    We need to take care of our own problems of:

    1. Economy
    2. Health Care
    3. Wars
    4. Unemployment
    5. Crimes, Homicides and Gang Violence

    June 29, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  19. Shari, NY

    Obama victim: You have been lamenting ever since Pres. Obama won the elections but you earn credit for giving Obama a sort of good grade this time even though you won't quit calling him "Obozo" . I trust you will give him at least another six months because eight years of manure is a lot to heave away overnight.

    Anyway, I too think we have to tread very carefully on this matter. I said in a previous post that if America stuck its nose in Iraq's business, it would be criticized and if not it would still be criticized. Darned if you do and darned if you don't!!! What did I tell you?

    June 29, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  20. Laverne

    @ willy brown: The election was stolen right here in American on Nov. 4, 2000 so your point is irrelevant! We have problems of our own including 2 wars and the potential problems with N. Korea, we can't be at war with everybody at the same time, wake up!

    June 29, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. Larry

    President Obama handled the Iranian election very well, despite all the criticism from the now defunct Republican party.

    We'll see as our forces withdraw from the cities of Iraq that we never should have started that war either. I suspect everything will go back to the way it was in 2002 before our invasion.

    These countries do not want us involved in their Muslim affairs.

    June 29, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  22. Independant from NY

    I would be for intervention but unfortunately the Bush administration has disintegrated any cache we had concerning middle east meddling with that fake war in Iraq

    June 29, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  23. ajibulu

    my opinion for obama he should not dispute the result of the iranian election,all i want him doing he should press iran govt.to hear out the massive protect and stop molestation of it own citizen.no war

    June 29, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  24. Kevin Denver Colorado

    How is Kuwait, Kosovo OR Somalia ANYTHING AT ALL like the Iranian situation????? Typical GOP (non) thinking. You people are simply NOT SMART ENOUGH to even converse with!

    June 29, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  25. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    We haven't interfered, but we have the right to voice our opinion.

    June 29, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
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