Middle East Morass: A public opinion rundown of Iraq, Iran, and more

Article Highlights

  • 36% approve of Obama's handling of the situation in Iraq

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  • Nixon's approval rating was 24% when he resigned 40yrs ago August 8

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  • Reps appear more interested in Nov. midterm elections than Dems

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Iraq has returned to national headlines in recent weeks. What do Americans think about the escalation of violence there? The July-August issue of AEI’s Political Report features polls on Americans’ response to the conflict, President Obama’s foreign policy, building democracies abroad, and working with Iran. In other news, as the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s resignation approaches, Political Report examines opinions about his resignation and subsequent pardon then and now.

•    Iraq and Obama: Thirty-six percent approve of the way Obama is handling the current situation in Iraq (CBS/New York Times), while 61 percent still approve of his decision to withdraw nearly all US troops from Iraq (Gallup).

•    So what should be next? Not direct military intervention, according to most Americans. Fifty-eight percent of registered voters say it is more important for US troops to stay out of Iraq, even if it leads to an unstable government, than it is to keep terrorists from taking over Iraq (Fox).

•    But what about democracy building? A February 2013 Gallup poll reported that only 31 percent of Americans think helping other countries build democracies should be a very important foreign policy goal. And 70 percent say Iran represents either a “very” or “moderately” serious threat to the United States (CNN/Opinion Research Corporation).

•    Nixon’s resignation: When Richard Nixon resigned on August 8, 1974, his approval rating was 24 percent. That year, 59 percent disapproved of President Ford’s decision to pardon Nixon. But Americans changed their minds. In 2002, ABC News found the same percentage reported thinking Ford did the right thing in granting Nixon a pardon.

•    Election update: Fifty-seven percent of Americans do not feel their congressional representative should be reelected (NBC/Wall Street Journal). At this stage, Republicans appear to be more interested in the November elections than Democrats.

•    What’s in a name? Sixty-six percent of Washington, DC, residents think the Washington Redskins should not change their team name (Washington Post). Nationally, 83 percent say the team should not do so (AP/GfK/Roper). “Feminist” is not a very popular term among women. We also look at opinions on the terms “African-American” versus “black” and “Hispanic” versus “Latino.”

Iraq, Iran, Nixon's resignation and more: A public opinion rundown by American Enterprise Institute

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Jennifer K.

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