US, Obama’s image sour in Muslim nations: poll
WASHINGTON — The image of the United States has soured in Muslim nations in the past year, says a poll released two days before President Barack Obama is due to deliver a speech on the pro-democracy revolts sweeping the Arab world.
Only in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation where Obama spent part of his childhood, does a majority have a favorable view of the United States, says the poll by the Pew Research Center.
But even the number of Indonesians with a favorable view of the United States was down by five percentage points from 59 percent in 2010.
The Pew survey found that the US president remains unpopular in most Muslim nations, and most disapprove of the way he has handled calls for political change roiling the Arab world.
Even in the United States’ key allies of Jordan and Turkey, views of the United States soured in the past year.
The percentage of Jordanians who regard the United States in a favorable light fell by eight points since 2010 to just 13 percent this year, and in Turkey, just 10 percent of people had a positive opinion about the United States, down from 17 percent in 2010.
A mere 12 percent of Turks said they had confidence in Obama, a drop of 11 points from 2010. In Jordan, confidence in Obama rose in the past year, but only by two percentage points, to 28 percent approval.
Pakistanis’ views of the United States were also less positive this year compared to last, falling from 17 percent in 2010 to 11 percent.
But confidence in Obama among Pakistanis grew from a paltry eight percent in 2010 to 10 percent, shows the poll — although if the same survey were conducted today, that result might be different.
Polling for the survey was concluded just before US special forces killed Osama bin Laden on May 1 in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad.
Around 1,000 people each were surveyed for the poll in Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories and Turkey, and 2,000 were polled in Pakistan over a 30-day period in March and April.