The results come from a new ABC News/Ipsos poll.
January 12, 2020, 12:00 PM
7 min read
In a week dominated by increased tension with Iran and speculation over when impeachment articles would be delivered to the U.S. Senate, a majority of Americans said they disapprove of President Trump’s handling of the situation with Iran and feel less safe, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll.
But when it comes to a key conflict at home, impeachment, attitudes are more mixed, with Americans split in their assessment of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s motivations for delaying the transmittal of the articles of impeachment.
The poll, conducted by Ipsos in partnership with ABC News, using Ipsos’ Knowledge Panel, asked Americans about their attitudes on two unfolding challenges for the Trump presidency — escalating tensions with Iran and the impending impeachment trial in the Senate.
Overall attitudes about Trump and the consequences of his actions against Iran largely were driven by Independents, a critical target for both parties in electoral politics. The poll showed a majority of Independents, 57%, and all U.S. adults, 56%, disapproving of Trump’s handling of the situation with Iran, with 43% of both Independents and U.S. adults approving.
Respondents also were asked about the fallout of the strike against Qassem Soleimani, the second-most-important official in Iran’s government behind Ayatollah Khamenei, which marked a major escalation in months of tension between the U.S. and Iran, which launched retaliatory missile strikes on American bases in Iraq.
In the aftermath of the U.S. strike, only 28% of Independents, and 25% of Americans, said they felt more safe, while just over half, 51% of Independents and 52% of U.S. adults, said they felt less safe.
When it comes to attitudes on the conflict with Iran, partisanship drives opinions. An overwhelming 87% of Republicans approved of Trump’s handling of Iran, and 54% say they feel safer. Among Democrats, 90% disapproved and 82% felt less safe.
Still, when asked about concerns over the possibility of the United States getting involved in a full-scale war with Iran, Democrats are more united in expressing concern than Republicans.
A net total of 94% of Democrats, and 52% of Republicans, are either very concerned or somewhat concerned about the possibility of entering into another war in the Middle East, compared with 6% of Democrats and 48% of Republicans who said they were not so concerned or not concerned at all.
Independents once again tracked the country’s positions as a whole, with 72% of Independents and 73% of Americans saying they’re concerned about a new war, and 28% of Independents and 27% of U.S. adults dismissing such concerns.
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Attitudes on the homefront’s chief political conflict, impeachment, also are driven by partisanship, with 66% of Democrats and 10% of Republicans maintaining that Pelosi and Democrats were abiding by a constitutional duty to ensure a full and deliberate trial in the Senate, while 81% of Republicans and 8% of Democrats stood by the statement that not immediately transmitting the articles showed that allegations against Trump are not serious and that the Democrats are playing partisan politics.
However, when it comes to gauging Pelosi’s motivations around delaying the transmittal of the articles, independents were splintered, and their division drove overall attitudes. Identical percentages, 39%, of Independents and Americans each agree that Pelosi, by withholding the articles, was fulfilling a constitutional duty. But a similar number of Independents, 36%, and U.S. adults, 37%, agreed with the sentiment that the speaker and her party were playing politics by delaying the articles’ transmission.
After three weeks of waiting and recent pressure from within her own party, the Democratic leader announced on Friday she planned to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate this coming week.
This ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs‘ KnowledgePanel® Jan. 10-11, 2020, in English and in Spanish, among a random national sample of 525 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 4.8 points, including the design effect. See the poll’s top-line results and details on the methodology here.
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