Misleading Headline of the Day (So Far):

Poll: Clear Majority Supports Nuclear Deal with Iran

–from today's Washington Post

Scratching your head because you thought Americans (along with our traditional allies) fear the deal being negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry? Don’t stop at the end of the first paragraph of this Washington Post story that could have been written in the White House:

By a nearly 2 to 1 margin, Americans support the notion of striking a deal with Iran that restricts the nation’s nuclear program in exchange for loosening sanctions, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds.

But the survey — released hours before Tuesday’s negotiating deadline — also finds few Americans are hopeful that such an agreement will be effective. Nearly six in 10 say they are not confident that a deal will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, unchanged from 15 months ago, when the United States, France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia reached an interim agreement with Iran aimed at sealing a long-term deal.

Despite the headline, the story reveals that the majority of Americans aren’t with the Obama administration on the deal that we expect from the negotiations. As for the question of whether the public wants a a deal to restrict Iran’s nuclear program, what sane person doesn’t want that? But unlike the Post reporter, I see deep skepticism and fear in the results of the poll. We don’t trust the Obama negotiators to get us a deal to halt Iran's nuclear program. .

The Post report goes on to state that 59 percent of Americans favor lifting sanctions on Iran in exchange for nuclear restrictions. The story doesn’t give a percentage of Americans who support lifting sanctions in exchange for just about nothing.

The story’s assessment of Republican rank and file being out of step with an supposedly insular leadership in Washington must be highly pleasing–and useful–to the Obama administration:

Republicans are about evenly divided on an Iran deal, with 47 percent in support and 43 percent opposed. The split contrasts with Republican lawmakers’ widespread backing of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech deriding the potential deal in early March before a joint meeting of lawmakers. Additionally, all but seven Republican senators signed a letter to Iran’s leadership warning that Congress or a future president could override any agreement made by the Obama administration.

Again, being for a deal in the abstract—and who doesn’t want a good deal to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions?—doesn’t necessarily rule out supporting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s giving a speech to try to save his country and ultimately our country before Congress. This is not a “split” that contrasts with Republican lawmakers and regular Republicans with regard to the Netanyahu speech. If the poll respondents were asked specifically about the Netanyahu speech, their replies are not reported in the Post. If the poll respondents were asked specifically about the open letter to the mullahs signed by forty seven GOP senators, their answers are not reported. The reporter just threw Netanyahu and the letter into the story because it fit with the desired narrative.  

In what could be interpreted as a gesture towards the GOP, the story also reports that “popular sentiment” is more “in line with GOP lawmakers” on the matter of whether Congress should authorize a deal with Iran—sixty-two percent, according to a Pew Research Center survey released Monday. But again this isn't quite right. The reporter apparently has not heard enough Democrats in Congress believe that the deal must be voted on by Congress that there may well be a veto-proof majority on this matter. Not that that means the Obama administration will pay much attention to the will of our elected officials.

Towards the end, the Washington Post story finds “support for Obama’s approach of negotiating toward an agreement, he receives negative marks for dealing with Iran overall.”

Reading the story, I find support for a good deal with Iran but a sober realization that the Obama administration is not likely to bring about this deal.