A Majority of Americans Believe the Killing of Iranian General Soleimani Has Made the United States Less Safe

Nearly two in three Americans see the killing as a rise in conflict with Iran

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, January 8, 2020 — New Ipsos polling for USA Today finds that while Americans are generally split on the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, few believe the attack and its aftermath have made America, or the world, a safer place.

In a survey conducted January 7-8 (the rocket attack on U.S. bases in Iraq took place within the end of the field period), we find Americans split on the killing of Soleimani with 42% supporting, 33% opposing, and 25% saying they don’t know. However, when asked if the killing has made the U.S. more or less safe, a clear majority (55%) say it has made us less safe. Furthermore, a majority of Americans believe the killing makes a variety of security threats more likely to happen, including: Iranian attacks on American interests in the Middle East (69% more likely); terrorist attacks on the United States (63%); the U.S. and Iran going to war (62%); or Iran developing nuclear weapons (52%).

Looking forward, a little more than a third of Americans (39%) support airstrikes on Iranian targets at this time. That support drops to 22% when cultural and world heritage sites are specifically included as targets, as President Trump threatened in a recent tweet. However, support for airstrikes climbs to 55% of Americans if Iran were to assassinate a major U.S. military officer in the Middle East in retaliation for the Soleimani killing.

Closer to home, about half of Americans (52%) agree that “President Trump’s behavior with Iran is reckless” and a third (36%) support the President’s current strategy on Iran. A large majority (64%) believe the Soleimani killing was an escalation of the conflict between Iran and the U.S., and 53% support “Congress limiting President Trump’s ability to order military strikes or declare war without legislative approval.”

In the political arena, a plurality (47%) of Americans agree that “President Trump ordered the killing of Soleimani in an attempt to divert focus from impeachment” and most Americans (55%) oppose delaying the impeachment hearings because of the crisis with Iran.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between January 7-8, 2020 on behalf of USA Today. For this survey, a sample of roughly 1,005 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S. Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The sample includes 429 Democrats, 387 Republicans, and 115 Independents.

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,005, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.0 percentage points).

The poll also has a credibility interval plus or minus 5.4 percentage points for Democrats, plus or minus 5.7 percentage points for Republicans, and plus or minus 10.4 percentage points for Independents.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Vice President, US
Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025
[email protected]

Kate Silverstein
Media Relations, US
Public Affairs
+1 718 755-8829
[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

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The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs