India warms up to Obama as America’s global image rises

July 24th, 2009 - 10:44 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama By Arun Kumar
Washington, July 24 (IANS) President Barack Obama is popular around the world, improving the US’s global image, with particularly warming attitudes toward America among urban populations in India, Brazil, and China, according to a new poll

A Pew Research Poll released Thursday shows that the image of the United States has “improved markedly in most parts of the world,” largely because of the high levels of global confidence and trust in Obama.

Improvements were especially high in Western Europe, but attitudes toward America also warmed in Canada, Mexico and Argentina. Opinions of the US remain very positive in the African nations of Kenya and Nigeria, while increasing significantly in India and China.

Nearly 27,000 interviews were conducted in 24 nations, as well as the Palestinian territories. The survey notes that confidence in Obama’s “foreign policy judgments stands behind a resurgent US image in many countries” and those surveyed indicated a belief that Obama will “do the right thing” in regard to world affairs.

The survey, conducted by the non-partisan Pew Research Centre’s Global Attitudes Project, showed “signs of improvement” in predominantly Muslim countries that held overwhelmingly negative views of the United States in the Bush years.

However for the most part, opinions of the US among Muslims in the Middle East remain largely unfavourable, despite some positive movement in the numbers in Jordan and Egypt. Animosity toward the US, however, continues to run deep and unabated in Turkey, the Palestinian territories and Pakistan.

While the image of the US is much improved and expectations about Obama are high, most still say the US is not considering their country when making foreign policy. Only in Germany, India, Israel, Kenya, Nigeria, China and Brazil do majorities think the US is taking their country’s interest into account when making foreign policy.

And overwhelming numbers of people around the world continue to see the US as having a big influence on their country, with the publics of most nations surveyed describing that influence as bad, rather than good. Exceptions are India and Kenya, where majorities say that the US impact is positive.

In Asia, optimism about Obama is almost as extensive with 85 percent of Japanese and 81 percent of South Koreans expressing confidence in the American president, and only somewhat lower percentages expressing that view in India (77 percent) and China (64 percent

As in 2008, most people surveyed by the Pew Global Attitudes Project say they are dissatisfied with conditions in their country.

However, majorities in Canada and India express satisfaction with the way things were going in their countries. For India, the current recorded level of national contentment represents a major increase over 2008.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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