The American public is increasingly critical of President Donald Trump’s handling of Iran after he ordered the US military to kill a powerful Iranian military commander, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling.
The poll released on Tuesday also shows that a majority of US adults now expect the countries to be at war in the near future.
The national opinion poll found that 53 per cent of adults in the US disapprove of Trump’s handling of Iran, which is an increase of about 9 percentage points from a similar poll that ran in the middle of December.
The number of adults who “strongly disapprove” of Trump’s actions in Iran – 39 per cent – is up 10 points from the December poll.
The response was largely split along party lines, with disapproval up over the past month among Democrats and independents, while it did not change among Republicans.
About nine in 10 Democrats and five in 10 independents disapprove of Trump’s actions in Iran. Among Republicans, one in 10 disapprove. One in 10 Democrats, four in 10 independents and eight in 10 Republicans approve of Trump’s handling of Iran.
The survey ran January 6-7, shortly after Trump ordered the drone strike in Iraq that hit Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani and escalated tensions in the region.
Iraq’s parliament called for American troops to withdraw from the country, and mourners in Iran crowded onto the streets, chanting “Death to America!”
Trump, who said that Soleimani had been planning to attack Americans, argued that the strike was meant to stop a war with Iran. The president threatened to attack Iranian cultural sites if Iran retaliated, a threat he has since walked back from.
According to the poll, Trump’s overall popularity remained stable following his strike on Soleimani, with 41 per cent approving of his performance in office and 54 per cent disapproving.
Americans also appeared to be much more concerned now about the risk of war with Iran.
A separate Reuters/Ipsos poll that ran January 3-6 found that 41 per cent consider Iran to be an “imminent threat” to the United States, up 17 points from a similar poll that ran in May 2019.
It also found that 71 per cent of Americans believe that the US will be at war with Iran within the next few years, up 20 points from May’s poll.
A growing minority of Americans say they are now in favour of a “preemptive attack” on Iran’s military.
The poll found that 27 per cent said the United States should strike first, up 15 points from May. Another 41 per cent said the United States should not strike first and 33 per cent said they do not know.