KEY POINTS

  • Polls by USA Today and Reuters/Ipsos reveal most Americans believe the U.S. and Iran will go to war
  • The USA Today survey said the killing of Soleimani has made the United States less safe
  • The Reuters/Ipsos poll shows 71 percent of Americans think it's very or somewhat likely America will be at war with Iran in the next few years

Americans widely disapprove of president Donald Trump's recent actions against Iran, calling his actions "reckless" and saying his assassination of Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani had made them and the United States less safe. They also said Trump's moves will likely lead to a war between Iran and the U.S.

By more than two-to-one, Americans said the killing of Soleimani has made the United States less safe, according to a nationwide online poll by USA Today/ Ipsos. Of those surveyed, 52 percent described Trump's behavior with Iran as "reckless," while 62 percent believe U.S. and Iran will go to war.

On the other hand, a new poll by Reuters/Ipsos supports a finding in the USA Today poll that Americans are now more worried about a war against Iran. The poll Reuters/Ipsos conducted after the Soleimani killing but before the Iranian missile attack on January 8 reveals 71 percent of Americans think it's very or somewhat likely America will be at war with Iran in the next few years. This is an almost 20 point increase since the 52 percent from a poll in May.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll also reveals 41 percent of Americans believe Iran is an “imminent threat.” The poll has 41 percent of respondents saying the U.S. shouldn't launch a preemptive attack on Iran's military. If Iran were to attack U.S. forces first, however, Americans are split on what the appropriate U.S. military response should be.

Thirty-four percent say the U.S. should launch airstrikes on Iran military targets while 37 percent said there should be a full U.S. military response with airstrikes and a ground invasion. Only eight percent support a purely diplomatic response, and 21 percent say they don’t know.

As for the USA Today poll, there is massive agreement the assassination of Soleimani has increased the danger faced by America. It shows 69 percent of respondents saying the assassination makes it more likely Iran will attack American interests in the Middle East. Of those polled, 63 percent believe there will be terrorist attacks on the American homeland.

A full 52 percent of respondents said the assassination made it more likely that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. Only eight percent shared the opposite view.

The poll also shows mixed emotions as to the wisdom of killing Soleimani. The poll shows 42 percent support it, 33 percent oppose it, while 25 percent said they didn't know what to think. Republicans supported the assassination more than Democrats. Independents were almost evenly split in their opinion.

Fifty-three percent of respondents agree killing Soleimani "shows Iran that the U.S. won't be pushed around."

The USA Today/ Ipsos online survey of 1,005 adults was taken Tuesday and Wednesday. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Iranian mourners hold posters of slain top general Qasem Soleimani during the final stage of funeral processions in his hometown Kerman Iranian mourners hold posters of slain top general Qasem Soleimani during the final stage of funeral processions in his hometown Kerman Photo: AFP / ATTA KENARE