July 6, 2015 | By Dina Smeltz, Craig Kafura

Americans Favor Deal with Iran; Willing to Back with Force

<a href="/sites/default/files/AmericansonIran_0.jpg" target="_blank">View larger</a>According to the 2015 Chicago Council Survey, fielded between May 25 and June 17, a majority of Americans support the outlines of a nuclear agreement with Iran when it is described as a tradeoff between the United States easing some economic sanctions against Iran, and Iran limiting its nuclear enrichment and development, increasing access to international inspectors, and extending the breakout time to develop a nuclear weapon (59%). Just over a third (36%) oppose the agreement. 

If Iran “commits a major violation of this agreement,” solid majorities would support the United States imposing tighter economic sanctions on Iran (80%) and continuing diplomatic efforts (71%).

At the same time, in principle, Americans seem willing to use force to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Before any mention of the current negotiations with Iran in the survey, two in three Americans said they would support “the use of US troops to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons” (67%), on par with opinion in 2014. If Iran violates the agreement, majorities would support the United States conducting cyber-attacks against Iran’s computer systems (60%) and airstrikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities (56%). Fewer support sending US troops to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities (44% support, 51% oppose). 

Read all about Americans' views on US-Iran policy in the full brief.


The Chicago Council on Global Affairs highlights critical shifts in American public thinking on US foreign policy through public opinion surveys and research conducted under the Lester Crown Center on US Foreign Policy. 

The annual Chicago Council Survey, first conducted in 1974, is a valuable resource for policymakers, academics, media, and the general public. The Council also surveys American leaders in government, business, academia, think tanks, and religious organizations biennially to compare trends in their thinking with overall trends. And collaborating with partner organizations, the survey team periodically conducts parallel surveys of public opinion in other regions of the world to compare with US public opinion. 

The Running Numbers blog features regular commentary and analysis from the Council’s public opinion and US foreign policy research team, including a series of flash polls of a select group of foreign policy experts to assess their opinions on critical foreign policy topics driving the news.


| By Jack Benjamin

2019 Wrap Up

The year in review on all things public opinion.

| By Anqi Pan

Post-Election, Hong Kongers Remain Mistrustful of Police

Amidst ongoing unrest, Hong Kong held local elections on November 24th. The vote, widely seen as a referendum on the handling of the protests by the current government, saw pro-democracy candidates secure 85 percent of the seats. As the results of the latest round of surveys by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute show, greater challenges now lie ahead for Beijing in its handling of Hong Kong. 

| By Brendan Helm

Adieu, World Trade Organization

The World Trade Organization's dispute settlement mechanism has ceased to function. Without a formal means of disputing trade grievances, the future of the international trade system is murky.

| By Jack Benjamin

6 Ways in Which Liberal and Moderate Democrats Diverge on Key Issues

Democratic primary season is well under way, highlighted by recent debates and battleground fundraising by the large field of presidential hopefuls. As candidates deliver their pitch to voters, party supporters are not in lockstep on every issue.

| By Ruby Scanlon

The Generational Divide Over Climate Change

America’s young and old are split on what to do about climate change, presenting a major hurdle for the country’s youth to attain serious and immediate action.