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October 15, 2012 1:30 pm

Poll: 59% of Americans, 41% of Canadians Back Iran Strike

avatar by Zach Pontz

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USS John C. Stennis Photo: US Navy

Canadian research firm Ipsos Reid released a poll Monday that found 41 percent of Canadians supported a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear program compared with 59 percent of Americans. The poll was conducted on behalf of the Munk Debates, a biannual series of debates focusing on foreign policy issues held in Toronto, Canada. Next month’s discussion will focus on how the world should respond to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

According to the poll Canadians ranked a nuclear-armed Iran as the third greatest global threat, just behind international terrorism and famine and food shortage. Americans ranked it as their second-greatest concern, behind international terrorism.

Globe and Mail moderator and co-organizer Rudyard Griffiths “was surprised the differences in views between the two countries weren’t greater. He speculated that they could reflect a shift in the way Canadians view their military following its pullout from Afghanistan and intervention in Libya.”

The poll also revealed that ahead of Tuesday’s second presidential debate neither presidential candidate has much to gain if, as part of their agenda, they were to adopt a “redline” policy against Iran. This policy would effectively state that the US would undertake pre-emptive military action against Iran’s nuclear-enrichment program should the Iranian government develop the capability to build a nuclear weapon. 20% of Americans say they would be ‘more likely’ to vote for Democratic Candidate President Barack Obama if he adopted this position, compared to 27% who would be ‘less likely’ to vote for him. 52% said it made no difference.

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For Romney the contrast wasn’t as great. One quarter (24%) say they would be ‘more likely’ to vote for him if he adopted this position, compared to 26% who claim that they would be ‘less likely’ to vote for Romney. Half (50%) say that their likelihood of voting for Romney wouldn’t change if he adopted this position.

The poll surveyed 1,007 Canadians and 1,002 Americans from Ipsos’ online panels.

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