Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Obama's 'hopey-changey' fading abroad now too

June 18, 2010 |  3:00 am


President Barack Obama sailed onto the world leadership stage last year as a fresh face full of optimism and carrying the hopes of millions around the world for improved relations with the United States. And the same spirit of hope and change pervaded much of his home country.

Oh, well.

Obama's slips in favorability and job approval at home are well documented, now hovering in the mid to lower 40% range. And they have been damaged further by dissatisfaction over his handling of the disastrous gulf oil spill and its confused, messy aftermath.

Speaking of which, a new CNN/Opinion Research Poll finds Obama's disapproval in that issue area rising and approval sliding. See details below.

Now, a new Pew Global Attitude Study out this week shows that....

...while attitudes toward the U.S. remain more positive than during the latter years of his predecessor, attitudes toward Obama and this country have slipped dramatically in Muslim countries after starting to improve last year. An excerpt says:

America’s favorability rating in Egypt has dropped from 27% to 17% -- the lowest figure recorded there in five years. In Turkey, a NATO ally, confidence in Obama has fallen from 33% to 23%. Opposition to key aspects of U.S. foreign policy remains pervasive and many Muslim publics continue to view the U.S as a military threat.

This despite the Democrat's special address to the Muslim world last year and numerous other attempts for outreach through the media and special messages to the public and governments.

While confidence in Obama remains high in European countries, substantial majorities still see the United States acting unilaterally in its policies. The survey details "a mixed report" with as many of the 24,000 respondents in 22 studied countries disapproving of the president's policies in Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran as approve.

Screengrab from Democrat president Barack Obama's interviuew with al-Arabiya TV

Of the populations in those countries, in only three does a majority approve of Obama's policies toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In Britain and France now the populations are evenly split on getting their troops out of Afghanistan, while six-of-ten Germans now favor withdrawal.

Although throughout the continent large majorities approve of the U.S. combating terrorism.

Favorable views of the U.S. have improved in Russia and China, but dipped in India and dropped even more in Mexico, presumably entwined with the emotional issue of illegal immigrants highlighted by Arizona's popular passing of a tough state law to combat the problem.

With one interesting exception, majorities in almost all the countries surveyed in the massive study conducted this spring disapprove of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon. Only in Pakistan, which has its own nuclear weapons, did a population majority (58%) approve of Iran's arms drive.

Also revealing, a rapidly growing portion of the international public now sees China as the world's dominant economic power, no longer the United States. China's population itself turned out to be the most self-satisfied of the 22 nations, showing high levels of satisfaction with the country's economic conditions, direction and economic future.

Now back to the CNN/OPR survey on the spill: Only 41% now approve of Obama's handling of the environmental disaster, down from 46% in late May. Today, 59% disapprove of his job, up from 51% last month.

Today, three-out-of-four Americans disapprove of the federal government's gulf spill disaster handling while 24% approve. Only 1% have no opinion. (And she was probably traveling in Europe the last month.)

-- Andrew Malcolm

Speaking of hope, please click here to receive Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Follow us @latimestot  Or Like our Facebook page right here. We're also available on Kindle now right here. (With an oil-free two-week trial.)