Obama still highly popular in Europe: poll
WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama’s ratings have plunged at home but he remains highly popular in Europe, with 75 percent in 12 EU nations approving his handling of global affairs, a poll said Wednesday.
He is also much better liked than his predecessor George W. Bush, whose rating in Europe was just 20 percent in 2008, said the Transatlantic Trends poll by the German Marshall Fund.
Since 2009, when Obama had a 80-90 percent approval rating in Europe, his popularity has declined 17 points in Spain, 13 points in Slovakia and 12 points in France and Italy.
But he still received an 82 percent approval rating for international affairs in Portugal and 81 percent in Germany and the Netherlands, with an average of 75 percent across the 12 EU states surveyed.
Obama’s success in eliminating Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden appeared to be a factor in his popularity in the EU, with 73 percent backing his efforts to fight international terrorism.
In contrast, just 51 percent approved of his handling of conflicts in Libya and Afghanistan.
Philip Gordon, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, said the Obama administration was “overall encouraged” by the numbers.
“It confirms over the three years of the Obama administration consistent and strong support by Europeans for the president’s handling of international affairs,” Gordon said at an event hosted by the Fund.
However, at home, a Washington Post/ABC News poll earlier this month put Obama’s disapproval rating at 53 percent, and 77 percent said the country was on the wrong track. Thirty-four percent said Obama’s economic policies had done more harm than good.
Separately, the German Marshall Fund poll found a plurality of Turks still said they want their country to join the European Union although support is well below 2004 levels, when 73 percent wanted membership.
The poll also found a strong majority of Turks — 62 percent — had a negative view of the United States, with just 30 percent seen as favorable. The feeling was apparently mutual, with only 42 percent of Americans holding a positive view of Turkey.
The poll surveyed around 1,000 people in each of the countries — the United States, 12 EU members and Turkey — between May 25 and June 20.