EghtesadOnline: A recent poll that was recently conducted in the United States and that the opponents of an international nuclear deal with Iran heavily used to make their case has been revealed as “blatantly biased.”
A chain of conservative and far-right media outlets in the US as well as “pundits” opposed to the Iran deal have over the last week been citing a Harvard-Harris poll in which 70 percent of respondents said they believed the Iran deal had to be renegotiated, according to PressTV.
That poll was conducted October 14 and 18, starting just a day after US President Donald Trump made an anti-Iran speech in which he said he would not be certifying Iranian compliance with the deal under a domestic American law.
On Saturday, The Intercept published the findings of a “closer examination” of the poll question, citing experts on political polling, who expressed “shock” at the framing of the question.
Producing desired ‘findings’
The poll question starts with two narratives — compressed in a 60-word paragraph — both of which wrongly posit that Iran is in violation of the deal. It then asks respondents whether they believe the deal should be renegotiated or kept as it is.
“The reality is that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which officially monitors compliance, has repeatedly verified that Iran is adhering to the terms of the deal — a position reportedly supported by U.S. intelligence agencies, American military officials, the European Union, and Israel’s defense and intelligence establishment,” The Intercept wrote.
Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University, said the poll question was thus “blatantly biased.”
“It is about as bad as it gets — whoever designed this survey was clearly aiming to produce a finding that the public wants to renegotiate the deal,” Abramowitz said.
‘The reputable polls’
The report also pointed to the fact that the Harvard-Harris poll differed in its results from “recent polls by CNN and Morning Consult/Politico showing continued support from a majority of Americans for remaining in the deal.”
David Wade, a former official at the State Department in the administration of ex-President Barack Obama, said the poll had been designed to sway public opinion and its description of the deal had been “detached from the facts.”
“We know from dozens of reputable polls that Americans believe the deal is working and that they don’t want to see us back on a path to war with Iran,” he said.
The Iran deal was reached on July 2015. The parties to it — Iran, the US, the UK, Russia, China, France, and Germany — began implementing it in January 2016.
Exactly one year later, Trump took office, taking aim at the deal mainly because he saw it as a legacy of president Obama.
The other parties, including Europe, have strongly supported the agreement, citing the IAEA’s repeated verifications of Iranian compliance. Immediately after Trump’s speech on Iran, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and French President Emmanuel Macron put out a statement reaffirming their commitment to the Iran deal.
While Trump has seen zero appetite for a renegotiation of the Iran deal on the international level, he has been attempting to sell to a domestic audience an argument that the deal’s “many serious flaws” have to be addressed, including by Congress, which Trump’s “decertification” has put in a position to call the shots.
Congress has to decide whether to restore a range of nuclear-related sanctions against Iran that it has so far been waiving under the deal. A decision to re-impose those bans would be a major breach of the deal.