The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


The Pollster

Americans Favor Meeting with the Enemy

By Jon Cohen
John McCain this morning again took aim at Barack Obama, his likely Democratic opponent, over the Illinois senator's willingness to meet with Iranian leaders , and a new poll shows McCain also at odds with most Americans and nearly half of his own supporters on the matter.

Overall, nearly six in 10 in a new Gallup poll said it would be a "good idea" for the president to meet with the president of Iran, and more, two-thirds, thought the U.S. president should be open to talks with America's enemies more broadly.

Those who back Obama in a hypothetical general election match-up with McCain overwhelmingly (78 percent) favor the U.S. president talking to the Iranian president, as do 47 percent of those who would vote for McCain if the election were held today. Nearly two-thirds of those who back Hillary Clinton in her bid for the Democratic nomination said it would be a good idea to have talks at the highest level, as well.

Posted at 1:57 PM ET on Jun 2, 2008  | Category:  The Pollster
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talkig with iran is equal to chamberlain's talking with hitler. obama is displaying cowardly tendicies or wants to sell our country out to our enemies or his allies.

Posted by: david e. miller | June 3, 2008 12:56 PM

Use Hillary to negociate with them she can keep changing the rules and goal while we sneak out of Iraq.

Posted by: sneak attack | June 3, 2008 12:04 PM

Why has this question been reduced to summit diplomacy? The kind of substantive talks that people have been asking for can more easily be carried out by the State Department (remember them?).

Fortunately, the poll shows that shifting the question to a debate over a top-level dog-meets-pony production does not cloud Americans' underlying intuition. Unfortunately, the tactic worked well enough to get Gallup to ask the wrong question.

Posted by: J. deMolay | June 3, 2008 12:03 PM

Iranians are not our "enemy". We're not buying it. No matter how long the Israel Lobby continues to shove this nonsense down our throats.

Posted by: Jimbo | June 3, 2008 3:29 AM

Reporters and debate panels do us a disservice when they ask hypothetical questions on when a candidate will use military force or negotiate. Candidates should take the course that judicial nominees do when they refuse to answer questions on cases or legal issue before the courts.

Candidates should refuse to answer questions on when they would use force or who they would negotiate with because when they do answer the question it is like a poker player revealing what he or she is holding in his hand. It puts them in a weaker position.

At some point negotiations with Iran or other nations might be called for and if a candidate has said he or she would not do it during the heat of a campaign it makes it harder to go back on his or her word.

In general the moderators and questions during the debates in this election cycle have been poor.

Posted by: danielhancock | June 2, 2008 9:10 PM

Uhhhh, Bad News;

"Most" Americans, think American Idol is Reality TV! :-(

Thank GOD, "Most" Americans don't Actually Vote! ;~)

Posted by: RAT-The | June 2, 2008 9:02 PM

Attack first for whatever reason. Then anyone who questions the war isn't supporting the troops, hates freedom, is a traitor. Perpetual war is a fascist tool. Orwell described it nicely in his book, 1984. The Bushies showed that it can work in 2002 and McCain wants to try it again. You can always switch 'enemies. Remember? Saddam was a stalwart against Iran!

Posted by: thebob.bob | June 2, 2008 6:22 PM

Isnt this USA and not Israel? We went to war with Iraq for Israel. Our sons die. We want to go to war with Iran for Israel. How long are we going to ruin our country for a minority neo con Israel Lobby. Lets rebuild this country. Lets make the security of this country a priority. Israel is not the only other country in the world.

Posted by: This is USA | June 2, 2008 6:18 PM

"Those who back Obama in a hypothetical general election match-up with McCain overwhelmingly (78 percent) favor the U.S. president talking to the Iranian president, as do 47 percent of those who would vote for McCain if the election were held today. Nearly two-thirds of those who back Hillary Clinton in her bid for the Democratic nomination said it would be a good idea to have talks at the highest level, as well."

This points to the overwhelming ignorance of the American people, as the president of Iran is merely a mouthpiece without any real power in the nation. And I don't think that McCain's issue is avoiding talk, it is doing it without any preconditions as Obama has already asserted that he will stupidly do.

Posted by: skeptic | June 2, 2008 6:16 PM

Then "most" (i.e. the stupid) Americans deserve the consequences of disregarding common sense.

Posted by: skeptic | June 2, 2008 6:11 PM

Not talking with foreign nations is childish, like the kindergarten child who refuses to talk to someone because that someone won't do what the child wants.
Our leaders should be beyond the antics of children.

Posted by: abby0802 | June 2, 2008 6:08 PM

If Israel can talk to Syria why do folks fear US talking to Iran??
Talking is not the same as being submissive.
Look at McCain's speeches from a few years ago and compare them to the way he talks today you will see he is just plain selling out for power.

Posted by: ash | June 2, 2008 6:05 PM

To Bob:

Take a statistics class.

Posted by: KSA | June 2, 2008 6:01 PM

I love how you can ask 500 out of 300 million people their opinion and then proclaim that that is what Americans think.

Posted by: Bob | June 2, 2008 5:57 PM

if this is any indication of what talking about issues with anyone might accomplish please feel free to fill me in on how well we will do with the "bad guys"

Posted by: laurenzo | June 2, 2008 5:57 PM

McCain: "Since when did America know better than me and Bush!? Idiots will do whatever we say."

Posted by: John | June 2, 2008 4:50 PM

I don't think we should meet with Hillary! Her terrorist ways have gone way beyond is time for action! We should bomb before the days end!!

Posted by: Bill | June 2, 2008 4:48 PM

But Israel doesn't approve of the US and Iran talking. Israel sees a threat to its regional ambitions and strategic value if the US and Iran start to get along, as Dr Trita Parsi pointed out in his book "Treacherous Alliances" (Johns Hopkins, 2007.) So, Israel and the AIPAC lobby will find a way to undercut any talks.

Posted by: hass | June 2, 2008 4:05 PM

It is a pretty safe bet that whatever the people want is the opposite of Bush policy. There is a reason why 82% think the country is moving in the wrong direction. What is wrong with the carrot and stick approach?

The only condition I think we need to make is that the talks do not turn into theater. Any wild man act and the talks stop.

Posted by: Gator-ron | June 2, 2008 3:15 PM

I absolutely support talking to our enemies. What exactly has *not* talking to them accomplished?

Of course it should be noted they haven't actually DONE anything to us, which in McBush's world, means WAR!

No, thanks. Time for a change.

Posted by: Shawn | June 2, 2008 3:12 PM

Not talking to bad guys does not work, because the bad guys are just fine with not being talked to. It makes explaining a few things to their own people so much easier.

Posted by: steve | June 2, 2008 3:11 PM

"A very surprising poll has Clinton leading by 30% in South Dakota and barely trailing in Montana"

Is that the "Harriet from N.Y." poll?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 2, 2008 3:09 PM

"naive |nīˈēv| (also naïve)
(of a person or action) showing a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgment : the rather naive young man had been totally misled."

So, who got duped into a war based on lies and served to strengthen our "enemy" Iran?

Which leader showed a "lack of wisdom etc.?"

Posted by: Anonymous | June 2, 2008 3:07 PM

Shoot first, aim later

Posted by: Anonymous | June 2, 2008 3:03 PM

McCain's tough man's talk on foreign policy seems more and more out of touch everyday!

Posted by: Buddy | June 2, 2008 2:59 PM

The old adage of bombing first and sorting it out later doesn't work anymore. The same old game just won't be played anymore. This country has been burnt again, after we swore we wouldn't let the same thing happen again after Vietnam.

John McCain's generation has damaged this country enough. It's time for his generation to move over and let another generation carry the torch. The old ways will no longer be tolerated.

Interesting that none of the Right-Wing talk shows like Hannity, Limbaugh, etc are even mentioning this Gallup poll. But then, they never reflected the majority anyway.

Posted by: Chris, Atlanta, GA | June 2, 2008 2:48 PM

A very surprising poll has Clinton leading by 30% in South Dakota and barely trailing in Montana. Shouldn't be enough to change the race, but note how few upsets there have been this year. Link:

Posted by: Dan | June 2, 2008 2:41 PM

This old geezer needs to get with the program. The "W" didn't feel the need to kind of go along with what the people want, McCain is much the same old same old.....Nuke first and ask questions later. There is nothing wrong with a dialog with despicable people, that doesn't mean that you are kissing their azz...and are giving in to them.....his gun toting demeanor is going to be the downfall of us yet.....Even the Bush administration is having talks with the "axis" of evil.

Posted by: Mc Cain Suxxxxz | June 2, 2008 2:12 PM

This is McCain;s achilles heel on FP. Well, tied with Iraq. Americans are tired of cowboy diplomacy and want to try new tactics. And they don't buy - yet - McCain's argument that low-level negotiations are dangerous.

Posted by: matt | June 2, 2008 2:07 PM

Its amazing what you can do by talking.

After a war you need to talk anyway, why not cut out the costly middleman?

Posted by: Sally | June 2, 2008 2:05 PM

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