More than half of Americans approve of Donald Trump ordering the drone strike that killed Iran’s most powerful military commander earlier this month – even as nearly half think his actions have increased the risks of war and terrorism alike, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll.
The results show some conflicted responses to Trump’s actions. Fifty-three percent approve of the Jan. 3 drone strike against Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. But fewer, 45%, approve of the way Trump is handling the situation with Iran overall.
Forty-eight percent, moreover, say Trump’s actions toward Iran have increased the risk of terrorism against Americans, while just 14% say he’s decreased this risk. Similarly, 46% think he’s increased the chance of war, vs. 16% who think he’s decreased it.
In further evidence of division, 47% say Trump has handled the situation with Iran “about right,” while 42% say he’s been too aggressive (and 5%, too cautious).
Another result shows a more negative than positive potential impact: Americans are 15 percentage points more apt to say his handling of the situation with Iran has made them more likely to oppose Trump for reelection than support him, 36% vs. 21%. Four in 10 in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, say it isn’t a factor in their vote.
Opinions split along partisan and demographic lines. Eighty-six percent of Republicans approve of the killing of Soleimani; that falls to 54% of independents and 24% of Democrats. Reflecting the vast gender gap on Trump generally, 63% of men approve, compared with 43% of women.
Independents, often a swing group, are twice as likely to say Trump’s handling of the situation with Iran has made them more likely to oppose his reelection (35%) than support it (17%). That’s driven by independent women, 42-11%, vs. a narrow 29-23% split among independent men. (The rest, in each case, say it’s not a factor.)
Women overall are 15 points more apt than men to say Trump’s handling of Iran has made them more likely to oppose him for reelection, and 24 points more likely to disapprove his handling of the situation with Iran in general.
This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Jan. 20-23, 2020, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,004 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 27-24-39%, Democrats-Republicans-independents.
The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling and data collection by Abt Associates of Rockville, Md. See details on the survey’s methodology here.