Half of all Americans believe that the United States will go to war with Iran "within the next few years," according to a Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll released on Tuesday amid increased tensions between the two countries.
While Americans are more concerned about Iran as a security threat to the United States now than they were last year, few would be in favor of a pre-emptive attack on the Iranian military. But if Iran attacked U.S. military forces first, four out of five believed the United States should respond militarily in a full or limited way, the May 17-20 poll showed.
The United States moved an aircraft carrier and forces to the Gulf region in response to intelligence that Iran may be plotting against U.S. interests, an assertion Iran denies.
Nearly half - 49% - of all Americans disapprove of how Republican Trump is handling relations with Iran, the poll found, with 31% saying they strongly disapprove. Overall, 39% approve of Trump's policy.
The survey showed that 51% of adults felt that the United States and Iran would go to war within the next few years, up 8 percentage points from a similar poll published last June. In this year's poll, Democrats and Republicans were both more likely to see Iran as a threat and to say war was likely.
Iran was characterized by 53% of adults in the United States as either a "serious" or "imminent" threat, up 6 percentage points from a similar poll from last July. In comparison, 58% of Americans characterized North Korea as a threat and 51% characterized Russia as a threat.
Despite their concerns, 60% of Americans said the United States should not conduct a pre-emptive attack on the Iranian military, while 12% advocate for striking first.
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