Poll by YouGov-Cambridge of Britain, Germany, Denmark, Middle East and US finds Americans most likely to support aggressive measures over Iranian uranium enrichment
A cross-country study by YouGov's university research arm YouGov-Cambridge, found that Americans are significantly more likely to support aggressive measures against Iran than Europeans or those from the Middle East.
Denmark also has high levels of support for aggressive measures compared to its European neighbours.
Summary of main points
- High percentages of Americans (64%), Britons (70%), Germans (74%) and Danes (76%) believe that Iran is probably enriching uranium to make nuclear weapons
- Double the number of Americans (44%) than Britons (23%) would bomb Iran over uranium enrichment
- 37% of Danes would bomb Iran
- One in five people in the Middle East (20%) would bomb Iran
- Almost a third of Americans would support the assassination of senior political figures in Iran
- A quarter of Americans would support the assassination of scientists working in Iran's nuclear programme
- One in five Americans would support a ground invasion involving US troops
Other possible policies
- 44% of Americans would support plans to bomb Iran's nuclear installations in comparison to 37% in Denmark, 18% in Germany, 23% in Britain and 20% in the Middle East
- 30% of Americans would support the assassination of senior political figures in Iran, versus 22% of Danes, 13% in Germany, 15% in Britain and 14% in the Middle East
- 26% of Americans would support the assassination of scientists working in Iran's nuclear programme, versus 17% in Denmark, 9% in Germany, 14% in Britain and 12% in the Middle East
- 22% of Americans would support a ground invasion involving troops from their own country, versus 27% in Denmark, 18% in Germany, 12% in Britain and 14% in the Middle East
Economic sanctions? Cyber-warfare? Europe says yes, Middle East no
When it comes to economic sanctions and cyber-warfare, Middle Eastern opinion differs significantly from both European and American trends, with Middle Eastern respondents much less likely to support taking this kind of action.
- Only 44% of those in the Middle East support increased economic sanctions against Iran, compared to 70% in the United States, 74% in both Germany and Denmark, and 70% of people in Britain
- Similarly, just 30% of Middle Eastern respondents support the application of cyber-warfare to undermine Iran's nuclear research, in comparison with 56% in the United States, 46% in Germany, 44% in Denmark and 42% in Britain
These differences of opinion likely indicate greater reluctance among those with nearby borders to support ‘softer’ sanctions that might affect the economic health of the region as a whole, says Director of YouGov-Cambridge Dr. Joel Faulkner Rogers.
Conducted earlier this week by YouGov-Cambridge, the Europe-US poll asked a nationally representative sample of British, German, Danish and US adults; while the Middle Eastern poll was conducted using a representative sample of adults from North Africa, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Levant.
Britons favour cyber-warfare over other actions
- Cyber warfare most popular possible action among Britons
- British Conservative supporters support stronger measures against Iran than both Labour and Lib Dem supporters, showing divisions between Coalition partners
Conservative voters are significantly more likely than their Coalition partners to support even tougher measures against Iran, including economic sanctions.
- 87% of Conservative supporters would support an increase in economic sanctions
- Compared to 68% of Labour supporters
- And 76% of Lib Dem voters
The most popular possible action among Britons is that of cyber-warfare.
- 53% of Conservatives would support cyber warfare to undermine Iran's research; versus 43% of Lib Dems and 39% of Labour supporters (this is the one occasion where more Lib Dems than Labour support activism)
- 20% of Conservatives would support the assassination of scientists working in Iran's nuclear programme, a smaller 6% of Lib Dem supporters and 12% of Labour supporters say the same
- 35% of Conservatives would support the bombing of Iran's nuclear installations, while 17% of Lib Dems and 21% of Labour supporters say the same
- 22% of Conservatives would support the assassination of senior political figures in Iran, versus 10% of Lib Dems and 11% of Labour voters
- 15% of Conservatives would support a ground invasion involving Britain's troops, versus 3% of Lib Dems and 11% of Labour supporters
British people showed a clear preference for both sanctions and cyber warfare over more violent or direct policy options, YouGov-Cambridge guest-experts from London’s Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), Andrew Somerville and Andrea Berger have noted.
They added 'the most palatable option [to the public of the military options] appears to be the strategic bombing of Iran's nuclear installations, gaining more support and weaker opposition than either targeted assassinations or a ground-based invasion that evokes memories of Iraq.
'However, with public opinion buoyed by the recent successes in Libya, there are questions over whether the public would also support the other ramifications of this type of action. Air strikes on targeted nuclear installations are unlikely to be limited to those installations alone. It is likely that suppression of air assets and air-defence installations would also be necessary to ensure the success of such a mission, which may not be as supported as the direct strikes themselves'.