The Post-ABC poll finds 53 percent approve of Trump’s ordering of the strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, while 41 percent disapprove.
The public splits more evenly on Trump’s handling of the situation with Iran in general, with 45 percent approving and 47 percent disapproving of his performance. Trump’s overall job approval rating in the survey, as reported Friday, stands at 44 percent, with 51 percent disapproving.
Despite overall approval of Trump’s decision, nearly half of adults say his actions increased the risk of terrorism against Americans (48 percent), and a similar 46 percent say they increased the chance of war with Iran. Fewer than 2 in 10 say his actions decrease the risk of terrorism or war with Iran, and about one-third say they made no difference in either risk.
On the political front, 21 percent say Trump’s handling of the situation will make them more likely to support him for reelection this year, while 36 percent say they will be more likely to oppose him, and 41 percent say the issue will not be a factor.
Americans’ reactions to the strike are deeply partisan, with an 86 percent majority of Republicans approving of Trump’s decision to order it, while 72 percent of Democrats disapprove, although nearly 1 in 4 Democrats approve of Trump’s action. And 54 percent of those who identify as independents approve of the strike, while 37 percent disapprove.
Likewise, over 7 in 10 Democrats say Trump’s actions have increased the chance of war with Iran and the risk of terrorism, while over 7 in 10 Republicans say that Trump’s actions decreased the risk or that they made no difference.
Gender is another sharp dividing line in attitudes, mirroring divisions in views of Trump in general. Men approve of Trump’s decision to order the strike on Soleimani by a nearly 2 to 1 margin, 63 percent to 32 percent. But support drops to 43 percent among women, with 50 percent disapproving.
Leading Democratic presidential candidates have criticized Trump’s decision to order the strike as being overly aggressive. Former vice president Joe Biden said “President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox,” while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said “Trump’s dangerous escalation that brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East.”
Yet The Post-ABC poll finds fewer than half of Americans, 42 percent, say Trump has been “too aggressive” in handling the situation with Iran, while 47 percent say he has handled it “about right” and another 5 percent say he has been too cautious. That marks a contrast with views of Barack Obama’s handling of foreign policy overall in 2014, when 53 percent said he was too cautious in handling international affairs in general.
The Post-ABC poll was conducted by telephone from Monday through Thursday among a random national sample of 1,004 adults, 65 percent of whom were reached on cellphones and 35 percent on landlines. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.