Foreign Policy has a Valentine Day's special Who do you love? based on opinion polls conducted for the BBC World Service. If you haven't registered for free and don't care for the graphics with sweat little hearts, you can access the polls at the University of Maryland's PIPA, which was involved in conducting the 40,000 interviews in 33 countries. The results on Iran's popularity:
On average across the 33 countries just 18 percent say Iran is having a positive influence while 47 percent say Iran is having a negative influence. Countries in Europe and North America have the largest majorities expressing a negative view of Iran. The most negative are Germany (84%), the US (81%), and Italy (77%); followed by Finland (74%), Great Britain (72%), Canada (73%), France (68%), Spain (66%) and Poland (60%).On the United States:
Within Europe there has been a hardening of negative attitudes toward America compared to a year ago. Those expressing a negative view have risen in France (from 54% to 65%), and Great Britain (50% to 57%) (...) Interestingly, no more Iranians were negative about the US role in the world than Germans or French (each with 65% negative).Regarding the support for military options on Iran if diplomacy fails, opinion polls in the US and in Germany produce contradictory results for both countries:
The Los Angeles Times asked Americans: "If Iran continues to produce material that can be used to develop nuclear weapons, would you support or oppose the U.S. taking military action against Iran?" 57% said they would support, while 33% said they would oppose. However, when ABC News asked "To try to prevent Iran from developing nuclear technology, would you support or oppose the United States bombing Iran's nuclear development sites?", only 42% of the US respondents said they would support, while 54% said they would oppose. Both polls are cited in the Polling Report.
The National Review Online refers to a poll in Europe:
If it emerges that Iran is on the brink of developing a nuclear weapon, more Europeans are ready to support limited NATO military strikes than those who wish to oppose strikes no matter what. Again, the data show a split in Germany (46 percent in favor, 45 percent against), but in the U.K., France, and Austria the public is clearly persuaded: 45 percent to 26 percent in the U.K., 51 percent to 40 percent in Austria, and 74 percent to 20 percent in France. (hat tip American Future)However, the Welt am Sonntag quotes the respectable Forsa polling institute, which found out that only 23% of Germans are in favor of using military measures to force Iran to give up its nuclear program, if diplomacy fails. 72% are against it.
I doubt whether opinion polls concerning military options on Iran are useful at this point in time. How many 'ordinary' citizens have already seriously thought about the Iranian threat and considered all the pros and cons of a war against Iran compared with accepting a nuclear Iran ruled by the current regime and also made up their mind?
The PEW Research Center has learned:
More Americans worry that we will wait too long than act too quickly in dealing with Iran's nuclear problem. However, far more Americans say the United Nations or the European Union rather than the U.S. should take the lead in dealing with the crisis.PEW concludes that "the public remains divided" over Iraq:
A narrow majority of Americans (51%) say the original decision to use force in Iraq was right, up from 45% a month ago. But at the same time the proportion saying we will definitely or probably fail in establishing a stable government in Iraq also edged up from 34% to 39%. Overall views of how things are going in Iraq remained level with 13% saying things are going very well, 38% fairly well, 29% not too well and 17% not at all well. And the public remains divided about evenly over whether we should keep troops in Iraq until the situation has stabilized (50%) or bring U.S. troops home as soon as possible (46%).