Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
After conducting a poll over the course of four days in early February, with a random sample of 1,029 adults from all around the United States, the Gallup Poll has determined Americans are still freaking out over Iran.
In Gallup's annual World Affairs poll, respondents were asked to pick "the country they consider to be the United States' greatest enemy." Topping the list was Iran (32 percent of those surveyed nominated the Islamic Republic), followed by China (23 percent) and North Korea (10 percent). None of the other nations on this edition of America's enemies list crack the double digits. Here's the full chart, courtesy of Gallup Politics:
Iran's threat level jumped seven percentage points since early 2011. And as Gallup notes, the Iranian regime has enjoyed its top boogeyman status for a few years running:
The contour of responses to this "greatest enemy" question has changed substantially over the seven times Gallup has asked it since 2001. Americans most frequently mentioned Iraq as the United States' greatest enemy in 2001 -- before the U.S. invaded the country and removed Saddam Hussein from power -- and in 2005, when it tied North Korea. Iran has topped the list in each of the five surveys since.
At this point, it would be odd if Iran hadn't claimed the #1 spot. High-ranking officials in Tehran routinely make grandiose but empty statements threatening large-scale ground assaults on Western territories. Iran's nuclear program—and a potential Israeli airstrike—is the hot-button foreign policy issue of the year. Most of the Republican presidential candidates—when they're not riffing on urgent foreign policy matters like stemming the tide of Hezbollah colonization in Latin America or attacking Castro—frequently reach for "Bomb Iran!"-type rhetoric. American media has been abuzz with talk of war—some coverage has been measured and levelheaded, and some, well, not so much. And the whole covert-war-with-Iran thing hasn't exactly helped to ease tensions.
Justified or not, it isn't hard to grasp why Americans are pissed off at the Iranian government these days. What is difficult to understand is how Japan got voted on to this list.....just a single percentage point shy of Russia and Pakistan.