Americans are more likely to approve than disapprove of President Barack Obama's recent phone call with the president of Iran, but only a third think more open communications would improve relations between Iran and the U.S., according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll released Thursday.
The poll found that 48 percent of Americans approve of Obama speaking on the phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, while 31 percent said they disapprove (another 21 percent weren't sure).
Obama's phone conversation with Rouhani on Sept. 27 was the first time since 1979 that leaders from the two countries had spoken.
But respondents were skeptical that more open communications with Iran would make much difference to the relationship between the two countries. Thirty-six percent of respondents said that the relationship would be improved by more communication, while 34 percent said that it would make no difference. Another 10 percent said it would actually make things worse.
And although more approved than disapproved of Obama's phone conversation with Rouhani, outlook on Obama's handling of Iran was more bleak. Thirty-six percent said that they approved of Obama's handling of issues with Iran, while 46 percent said that they disapproved.
The vast majority of Democrats approved of both Obama's approach to Iran as a whole and of his phone call with Rouhani, while the vast majority of Republicans disapproved. But independents disapproved of Obama's Iran approach, 52 percent to 26 percent, while a plurality approved of the conversation with Rouhani, 42 percent to 33 percent.
Few said that they had heard much about the conversation between Obama and Rouhani. Twenty-four percent of respondents said they had heard a lot, 48 percent that they had heard a little and 28 percent had heard nothing at all.
The poll found that most still consider Iran to be unfriendly to the United States, including 43 percent who said it is an enemy and 33 percent who said that it is unfriendly. A total of only 6 percent said that Iran was either an ally or at least friendly to the United States. Still, that outlook reflected an improvement over a YouGov poll conducted in mid-September, when 51 percent described Iran as an enemy.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Sept. 30-Oct. 1 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.