In October of 2011, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) commissioned Zogby Research Services to conduct its third national public opinion survey of Iranian Americans to gather accurate attitudinal and demographic information about the Iranian American community. The 2011 survey followed similar surveys commissioned by PAAIA in 2008 and 2009, which are an integral component of better understanding our community and having our voice heard through the availability of on-going accurate scientific data.
With the increased prospect of a U.S. or Israeli military strike against Iran in 2012, PAAIA again commissioned Zogby Research Services to conduct a follow-up national survey of Iranian Americans to gauge their perception and views on this important matter. The 2012 follow-up survey, presented here, specifically explores the attitudes and views of Iranian Americans towards the possible U.S. or Israeli military action against Iran’s nuclear sites or other facilities as well as their concerns on how such hostilities with Iran may impact the lives of Iranian Americans in the United States. This survey’s margin of error is +- 5 percentage points.
The results of the 2012 survey indicate that two-thirds (66%) of Iranian Americans are worried that a U.S. or Israeli military attack against Iran is now more likely than ever before. The survey shows that Iranian Americans continue to retain strong ties with the people of Iran. A total of eighty-four percent 84% of Iranian Americans have family currently living in Iran — consistent with PAAIA’s three previous survey results. Furthermore, fifty five percent (55%) of Iranian Americans believe that increased American hostilities with Iran could increase discrimination as well as heightening the U.S. government’s scrutiny and surveillance against them.
Almost two-thirds (63%) of Iranian Americans oppose military action against Iran’s nuclear sites or other facilities. In contrast thirteen percent (13%) indicated that they would support such an action while sixteen percent 16% might support it under some circumstances. Those who do not have family in Iran are less likely to oppose a U.S. bombing (only 44% oppose it).
PAAIA’s survey results show that Iranian American opposition to military strikes against Iran does not correlate to support of the Iranian government. The 2011 PAAIA/ Zogby survey showed that Iranian Americans want the Iranian regime to change withsixty seven percent (67%) preferring a secular democratic Iran compared to only two percent (2%) preferring the current Islamic Republic. Instead, opposition to military action is rooted in their concerns for the people of Iran as well as what they believe to be in the best interest of United States. When asked for their reasons for opposition to a possible U.S. bombing of Iran,eight in ten (80%) of respondents cited their concern for potential civilian casualties while seventy percent (70%) indicated that it is not in the best political or economic interests of the United States (similar to results of other public opinion surveys, which show that a majority of Americans prefer to give sanctions and diplomacy time to work over immediate military action). In addition, more than six in ten respondents felt that military strikes would strengthen the Iranian government (63%) and would be ineffective and encourage Iran to develop nuclear weapons (62%).
Opposition to a possible Israeli military action against Iran’s nuclear sites or other facilities is even stronger, with seventy percent (70%) of Iranian Americans opposed to such a scenario. Again, the survey found that those who do not have family in Iran are less likely to oppose an Israeli bombing (only 49% oppose it).
When asked under what circumstances they are most likely to support a U.S. military strike against Iran, a majority of fifty seven percent (57%) of Iranian Americans indicated that they would support military action if the Iranian government were to commit mass murder of its civilian populations. In contrast, only twenty six percent (26%) of Iranian Americans would not support U.S. military strikes against Iran under any circumstances.