The U.S. Public Still Doesn’t Want War With Iran

According to recent polling data, the majority of Americans blame Trump’s policies for heightened tensions with Iran—and the killing of Suleimani won’t change that.

By Shibley Telhami

For a president who professes aversion to wars in the Middle East, in ordering the killing of the Iranian general Qassem Suleimani, U.S. President Donald Trump may have made an already slippery slope toward military conflict with Iran much more slippery. To be sure, it is easy for Trump to point out to the U.S. public that Suleimani had much American blood on his hands, but that still doesn’t mean that the public believes that it is in the best interest of their country to go to war.

A September 2019 University of Maryland poll of a nationally representative sample of 3,016 respondents shows the trouble Trump faces with U.S. public opinion as the crisis with Iran escalates. There are three main takeaways: Three-quarters of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, say that war with Iran would be unwarranted; the public mostly blames the Trump administration for heightened tensions with Iran and disapproves of Trump’s Iran policy; and Americans are deeply divided in assessing Trump’s goals in Iran.