Survey of diverse states and key Congressional district shows a public united in its desire for public officials to stop march to more war
ARLINGTON, Va.—A new poll across five 2020 swing states, and a Congressional district with a large military community, shows strong opposition to a war with Iran, support for a repeal of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that was passed after 9/11, and wariness of any further involvement in “forever wars” around the world.
The poll, conducted by pollster Lake Research Partners and Stand Together, was commissioned by Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) and VoteVets.
“Americans don’t want a war with Iran—they understand it isn’t in our national interest nor does it serve to secure our safety or prosperity,” said Dan Caldwell, CVA senior adviser. “Similar to what we saw in CVA’s recent polling, the people are wary of being drawn into another endless war in the Middle East, and are looking for leaders in both parties to embrace a more prudent foreign policy. It’s concerning to see they think Washington is deaf to their will and will plunge us into war despite these feelings. We need to rethink how we approach foreign affairs and where, when, and why we employ our military might.”
“Americans in these crucial states, and district, are really clear – they are strongly opposed to a war in Iran, and they want Congress to step up and repeal the 2001 AUMF,” said Jon Soltz, Iraq War veteran and Chair of VoteVets.org. “For Congress, the message is obvious: The time has come to stand up for traditional war powers, and against anything that could lead America into yet another forever war, in Iran. For Democratic presidential candidates, the takeaway is unquestionable. The path to victory in a primary, and the general election, goes through opposing military action in Iran, and for repealing the 18-year old AUMF.”
The survey polled voters in five diverse states (that also are early Democratic primary states): Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, and Florida. It also surveyed voters in the 2nd Congressional District of Virginia, which includes Naval Station Norfolk. Norfolk deployed the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group to the Middle East and may bear the brunt of any military action in the region.
The survey offers a clear picture of an electorate that has no appetite for seeing the U.S. expand its military engagement in conflicts around the world, is particularly opposed to war in Iran, and supports repeal of the 2001 AUMF, favoring instead a fresh, bipartisan Congressional review and vote on any specific troop deployments.
“The findings in this survey surprised us with how strong they were, frankly,” said Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners. “In a time of division, like we’re seeing now, it’s pretty rare to see convergence on the biggest issues of the day. Yet, our poll finds that Republican-leaning states that are also home to early Democratic primaries, are united across the board on opposing war in Iran and wanting Congress to repeal the old military force authorization. What also was stunning is the number of people who oppose a war with Iran, but think one is going to happen, anyway. That suggests that people are hoping people in Washington step up and do something to slow the march towards war. For public officials, that’s a huge opportunity to fill a vacuum. When you break out Democratic voters, the numbers get even stronger, suggesting that this is an area where primary voters want to see their candidates take a robust stance.”
“Looking at these numbers, I’m blown away by the broad-based support for taking a more pragmatic and restrained approach to our foreign policy,” said Kyle McKenzie of Stand Together. “The American public seems to want less intervention, not more, requiring Congress to vote on new military authorizations, and are very hesitant to go to war with Iran, even though they think Washington will drive us into war without their input.”
Some of the key findings of the poll are:
- These voters have no appetite for increased military engagement. Just 11% believe the U.S. should be more militarily engaged in conflicts around the world. In none of the states, nor in VA-02, does the appetite for increased military engagement exceed the low double-digits.
- Voters are decidedly opposed to war with Iran. Even as some in Washington attempt to make a case for war, solid majorities of voters across these states and in VA-02 oppose the U.S. conducting an attack on Iran, regardless of whether it is referred to as a first-strike attack or not.
- Despite their opposition, these voters fully expect that the U.S. will go to war with Iran. In a somewhat unsettling finding, the data points to a fundamental gap in voters’ expressed opposition to war with Iran and their expectation that the prospect of war with Iran is all but assured.
- Voters do not want to rely on the 2001 AUMF; fully half want this Congress to review and vote on specific troop deployments. After hearing that “U.S. troops are currently at war in seven countries under a Congressional authorization passed in response to 9/11 in 2001” and that “members of Congress from both the Republican and Democratic parties say we should repeal the old authorization and have a new evaluation on how and when our troops are deployed,” fully half of voters (50%) support repeal and having Congress evaluate and vote on specific troop deployments anew.
The full memo of the poll’s findings can be found here.
Methodology: This poll was conducted on behalf of VoteVets and Concerned Veterans for America, by Lake Research Partners, in consultation with Stand Together, designed and administered this survey. It was conducted online and reached a total of 2,951 likely voters across Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, Florida (n=500 per state), and Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District (n=450). In addition, the survey included oversamples of likely Democratic primary and caucus voters in the first four states (n=200 per state in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada). The survey was conducted June 14-20, 2019. The margin of error for the General Election voter sample is +/- 1.8% overall, +/- 4.4% for individual states, and +/- 4.7% for VA-02. The margin of error for the sample of Democratic primary and caucus voters is +/- 1.8% overall, and between +/- 5.6% and +/- 5.9% for the individual states.