A majority of Americans – 54% – trust Barack Obama to do a better job handling an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, compared to 42% who say they trust the Republicans in Congress. But nearly 7 in 10 Americans say that Iran is not likely to abide by the agreement that has been reached—and that mistrust may have a lot to do with one’s age.
The latest NBC News Online Survey conducted by SurveyMonkey found that half of Americans say they have been following the Iran nuclear talks somewhat or very closely, and nearly the same number think that Iran’s nuclear program is a major threat to the United States (53%).
Iran and major world powers reached an unprecedented agreement last Thursday to begin steps to limit Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions, the result of a years-long international effort to prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. President Obama hailed the deal as a “historic understanding” just moments after top diplomatic officials in Lausanne, Switzerland, announced the framework for a final agreement on the future of the Iranian nuclear program.
There is a stark difference in opinion on how closely Americans are following this issue by age as well as how they evaluate Iran as a threat. Those who were witnesses to the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-81 – Americans who are 45 years old and up – have followed this issue much more closely – with more than 6 in 10 following it very or somewhat closely. Attention among younger Americans between the age of 18 and 44 drops by nearly half (35% say they have followed it closely). Six in 10 Republicans say they are closely following the news of the negotiations, compared to about half of Democrats and independents.
Perceptions of Iran’s nuclear program as a threat also divides by age. About 6 in 10 older Americans perceive Iran to be a major threat, whereas about 4 in 10 of those under 45 think that Iran is a major threat.
Party identification is an important divide in evaluating who would do a better job handling an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program. Nearly 9 in 10 Democrats say that Barack Obama would do a better job –and the same number of Republicans say Congressional Republicans will do a better job with the agreement. Independents split 52% to 44% in favor of the president’s handling of the agreement over the Republicans in Congress.
Americans are divided over the president’s handling of the situation with Iran, with 48% approving and 50% disapproving. The poll also found the president’s overall approval rating similarly divided (51-48), while his handling of the economy was 7 points higher on the approval side (53-46).
The NBC News-SurveyMonkey Poll was conducted online April 6-8, 2015 among a national sample of 2,052 adults aged 18 and over. Respondents for this non-probability survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in the SurveyMonkey Audience panel. Results have an error estimate of plus or minus 3.0 percentage points. A full description of our methodology can be found here. The survey was produced by the Analytics Unit of NBC News in conjunction with Penn's Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies with data collection and tabulation conducted by SurveyMonkey. Analysis by the University of Pennsylvania's Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies.