Obama era dips US approval in India, Pakistan: Poll

September 20th, 2010 - 10:35 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, Sep 20 (IANS) The US leadership has generally gained approval in Asia since the Obama era began but it declined most in Vietnam, Indonesia, and India, where residents are now significantly more uncertain, according to a new poll.

Views of US leadership in 2010 vary considerably across Asia, with as many as 77 percent approving in Singapore and as few as 18 percent approving in Pakistan and India, according to a Gallup poll released Monday showing higher approval ratings than in 2008 in 10 out of the 18 countries surveyed.

“While Pakistanis’ high disapproval (68 percent) of US leadership largely explains their low approval number, the high percentage of Indians (72 percent) who don’t have an opinion largely explains theirs. Indians who do offer an opinion are more likely to approve than disapprove,” said Gallup, a noted US public opinion research organisation.

In fact, in many other countries in the region where approval is lowest - Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Indonesia - about half or more of respondents do not have an opinion about US leadership, but those who do are more likely to approve than disapprove, it said.

The number of respondents who express uncertainty about the US leadership has increased significantly since 2008 in India, Vietnam, Nepal, and Indonesia.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries surveyed where a majority express disapproval of US leadership, at 68 percent and 54 percent, respectively. Approval in these two countries has varied over the last few years.

While US approval ratings have improved dramatically in several Asian countries since 2008, a majority of Afghans and Pakistanis do not share this positive view, Gallup said.

“This highlights the importance of building on positive perceptions in neighbouring India and Bangladesh - where residents are more likely to approve than disapprove - to shore up support in South Asia,” it said.

“US leadership has gained traction in parts of Asia, but the rising proportion of those who don’t have an opinion suggests it may be losing some of its visibility in several areas,” the poll concluded.

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

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