In Europe, Obama favorables crush Bush’s; Confidence in Obama generally high around world
A new Pew global survey released Thursday finds fraying favorable ratings for President Barack Obama in the Muslim world, even as he remains more popular in many European and Asian countries than at home.
In perhaps Pew Research Center’s most shocking finding, Obama earned a 35 percent approval rating in Lebanon, while 39 percent expressed support for suicide bombings. The contrast was first highlighted online by Josh Rogin.
Lebanon has fought several wars with Israel, which the United States has consistently supported.
Since last year, the president’s favorable ratings have fallen 10 percent in both Lebanon and Turkey, where he currently finds himself at 23 percent.
Obama has made outreach to the Muslim world an important component of his foreign policy, but has lost considerable ground in polls since his election.
He has a meager approval rating of 8 percent in Pakistan, where the US has for years been carrying out deadly unmanned drone attacks in an effort to target Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.
“While views of Obama are still more positive than were attitudes toward President Bush among most Muslim publics, significant percentages continue to worry that the U.S. could become a military threat to their country,” Pew concluded.
The Pew poll also found that Obama remains more popular in Western Europe and most Asian countries.
The survey of 24,000 people in 22 nations conducted April 7 to May 8 showed a largely favorable view of the United States for a second year, in sharp contrast to perceptions of America under former president George W. Bush.
When asked whether the US president would “do the right thing” in world affairs, 87 percent in France, 90 percent in Germany and 84 percent in Britain expressed confidence in Obama.
Those figures were down slightly from last year, compared with Bush’s rating of 13, 14 and 16 percent respectively in the European nations.
But among Americans, confidence in Obama slipped to 65 percent from 74 percent in 2009.
The poll showed Obama is more popular than French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in most of the 22 nations polled, including their own.
“Publics worldwide continue to have more confidence in US President Barack Obama’s ability to handle world affairs than in the abilities of key European leaders,” the Pew Research Center poll said.
“Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose leadership skills are well-regarded by publics throughout much of Western Europe, does not match Obama’s popularity.”
In many countries around the world, confidence in Obama is high, the poll showed: 76 percent in Japan, 75 percent in South Korea, 73 percent in India and 67 percent in Indonesia. In Africa, the confidence levels were 84 percent in Nigeria and 95 percent in Kenya.
With AFP report