Americans believe world leaders respect Obama: Gallup

February 16th, 2010 - 12:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama By Arun Kumar
Washington, Feb 16 (IANS) A year after Barack Obama came to power, more than half the Americans believe leaders of other countries around the world respect the first black US president, according to a new poll.

For the first time in five years they also believe the US is seen favourably in the eyes of the world, according to a new Gallup poll. Fifty-one percent now say the US is viewed favorably, up from 45 percent a year ago.

At 56 per cent, people’s perception about Obama’s image abroad is lower than the soaring 67 percent who perceived this a year ago, shortly after Obama took office. But it continues to far outpace the levels received by Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton during most of their terms.

“Not since April 2003 have a majority of Americans been satisfied with the United States’ global position,” the pollster said.

Only Bush achieved a similarly high percentage on this measure in the first few months after 9/11, but that quickly eroded as international criticism of him over the Iraq war mounted after 2002.

However, even prior to 9/11, fewer than half of Americans thought Bush was well-regarded internationally, Gallup noted. The same was true for Clinton in the two measurements taken toward the beginning and toward the end of his presidency, in 1994 and 2000.

Both sets of findings are consistent with Gallup’s worldwide polling that shows a significant improvement since Obama took office in how residents of more than 100 countries view the United States. The global median job approval rating for US leadership rose from 34 percent in 2008 to 51 percent in 2009.

Although more Americans now than in the past believe the US and its president are held in high regard by the world community, there has been little improvement in Americans’ satisfaction with the United States’ position in the world.

Currently, 35 percent are satisfied, similar to the 32 percent found last year at the start of the Obama administration and only slightly better than the 30 percent in the last year of the Bush administration. Not since April 2003 have a majority of Americans been satisfied with the United States’ global position.

Broadly speaking, Americans’ perceptions of how the US is viewed internationally and, in particular, how the president himself is viewed, have grown more positive since the end of the Bush administration, even with this year’s drop in the percentage believing that world leaders view Obama favourably.

However, neither those improved attitudes nor Obama’s handling of foreign policy has elevated Americans’ reported satisfaction with the US position in the world, Gallup said.

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