Friday, February 26, 2016

Iran Nuclear Deal – Still a Liability for President

Barack Obama wanted the seven years of negotiations that produced the Iran nuclear deal to be perceived as his greatest triumph and legacy. Much of the liberal foreign policy establishment agreed with his strategy – right size the U.S.-Middle East commitment and do a deal with Iran on its nuclear ambitions.

Iran has been a significant topic in the President’s State of the Union. He downplayed the successful negotiations in 2016.

But America’s image of Iran remains in deep negative territory, where it’s been since the fall of the Shah and the Iranian hostage crisis. Even America’s well-observed partisanship doesn’t much affect the negative view. Although Democrats are slightly more favorably disposed toward Iran than Republicans, it does not exceed 20 percent.

So the administration’s long negotiations have not shifted attitudes favorably toward Iran. Nor has the Iran nuclear deal become more popular over time. When the agreement was approved last fall, a majority of Americans did not approve it. They still don’t. Gallup reports opposition exceeds support by nearly two-to-one. Partisanship makes a difference, but a majority of independents disapprove and barely half of Democrats approve. And this is after President Obama’s best rhetorical efforts to declare the implementation and prisoner exchange last January a major policy success.

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