Poll shows voters split over whether there will be a military conflict between the two countries over Tehran's nuclear program

Four in ten Americans believe the US will attack Iran this year.

A Poll Position survey shows that voters are almost evenly split over whether there will be a military conflict between the two countries over Tehran's nuclear program: 40% said it is likely, 39% said it is unlikely. About 20% did not have an opinion.

The poll shows that opinion on whether there will be an attack breaks down along political lines with a majority of supporters of the Republican party - whose presidential contenders have been strongly critical of Barack Obama's emphasis on diplomacy with Iran - saying there will be a conflict. A majority of Democrats disagree.

"Republicans see a conflict most possible with 57% saying one is likely, 25% said a conflict is unlikely," said Poll Position. "Democrats differed with 54% seeing a U.S. military conflict with Iran unlikely, 22% believe a conflict is likely."

Among age groups, younger Americans, those in the 18-29 year old age group, most believe a conflict is possible with 46% thinking it likely, 37% believe a conflict is unlikely.

"These findings reflect not only political loyalties (the Republicans are leading the charge for a stronger military stance) but also confusion over whether Iran is developing nuclear weapons and uncertainty about whether Tehran's threats against the Jewish state are more than rhetoric when Israel has a formidable defense with its own secret nuclear weapons program which has built an undetermined number of atom bombs.

The poll was taken amid a heated debate in the US over Iran policy as the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, visited Washington last week to press Obama for a commitment to a military assault if Tehran advances toward a nuclear weapon. Obama cautioned the Israelis against "loose talk of war" and said he believes there is still time for sanctions to pressure Tehran in to opening up its nuclear program to full international inspection and to take other steps to persuade the major powers that it has no plans to build an atom bomb. Netanyahu has said Tehran will only respond to threats of military assault and said that Iran has 'bamboozled the west' by using previous negotiations to buy time to develop its nuclear program. After leaving Washington he warned that Israel is prepared to wait weeks not years for Iran to bow to foreign pressure.

© Guardian News and Media 2012

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