Nuclear Negotiations Popular in US

Nuclear Negotiations Popular in USNuclear Negotiations Popular in US

Americans broadly back direct negotiations with Iran about Tehran's nuclear program, according to a new CNN/ORC poll.

And although about half (49%) say some Republican senators went too far by sending a letter to Iran's officials warning that any agreement with the Obama administration would require Senate approval, only about one-third (39%) think the letter hurt US efforts to resolve the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has been meeting with Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif in Switzerland in an attempt to reach an agreement that would lift sanctions on Iran in exchange for temporary constraints on its nuclear activities.

Direct diplomatic negotiations with Iran are broadly popular, 68% favor them, while 29% oppose them. That support cuts across party lines, with 77% of Democrats, 65% of Republicans and 64% of independents in favor of diplomacy between the US and Iran.

Negotiations were ongoing when a group of 47 Republican senators signed on to a letter to Iran's officials, which stressed that any agreement the Obama administration reached with Iran would require Senate approval.

All told, 49% of Americans say the letter went too far, while 39% think it was an appropriate response to the way negotiations over Iran's nuclear program were going. Opinions on the letter were divided along partisan lines, with 67% of Democrats saying it went too far while 52% of Republicans called it appropriate. Among independents, 47% thought it went too far, 42% that it was appropriate.

Just 18% of Americans think the letter helped US efforts to settle Iran's nuclear issue, while 32% thought it hurt those efforts. More, 44%, said the letter had no impact on the US negotiations. A plurality of Republicans, 50%, said it had no impact, 24% that it helped, 21% that it hurt. Among Democrats, 44% said it had no impact, 30% that it hurt and 22% that it helped.

The CNN/ORC poll was conducted by telephone March 13-15. It includes interviews with 1,009 adult Americans and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.