By Bruce Stokes, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Bruce Stokes is director of global economic attitudes at the Pew Research Center. The views expressed are his own.
Beleaguered at home, U.S. President Barack Obama remains beloved in many nations abroad. And he is far more popular than his predecessor George W. Bush. But the bloom is definitely off the Obama rose.
Obama’s election in 2008 was widely approved of around the world, and there were high expectations for the incoming American leader, whose election seemed to promise an end to the anti-Americanism that had plagued Washington’s relations with the rest of the world for the past several years.
And, despite revelations such as National Security Agency spying on foreign leaders and the growing sense in the United States that President Obama is already a lame duck domestically, his continued (if somewhat diminished) favorability abroad suggests he remains a force to be reckoned with in international affairs. But will the president follow the well-trodden path of his predecessors in spending more time on foreign policy in their last years in office as their domestic influence has waned?
His popularity abroad suggests he might.
Today, Obama remains largely popular. Half or more of the public in 27 of 43 countries surveyed by the Pew Research Center in 2014 said they had confidence in him to do the right thing in world affairs – his median positive approval rating is 55 percent, similar to the American public’s view of his handling of foreign policy. Indeed, in most nations, the public’s assessment of Obama’s performance is largely unchanged since 2013, and his image has dropped by double digits in just five nations – Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Russia and Japan. But it has risen appreciably in Israel and China.
Western Europeans’ views of Obama, meanwhile, remain quite positive, and the president hits ratings he can perhaps only dream of now back at home – more than eight-in-ten French and three quarters of Italians and British have confidence in the U.S. president doing the right thing internationally.
Indeed, revelations that Washington has read both Americans’ and some foreigners’ emails and listened in on their telephone conversations appears to have significantly damaged Obama’s approval in only one EU country, with Germans’ views of Obama falling 17 points in the last year. In addition, Russian faith in Obama, already quite low in 2013, is down 14 points to 29 percent, a likely casualty of the Ukraine confrontation. (Obama’s handling of that crisis has not won the U.S. president much support in Ukraine, either, where only 44 percent give him a positive grade).
Asians’ appreciation for President Obama echoes that of western Europeans – half or more of the publics in nine of 11 Asian nations surveyed have confidence in Obama to do the right thing in world affairs. Such pro-Obama sentiment is particularly strong in the Philippines (89 percent) and South Korea (84 percent). About half of Chinese, meanwhile, now approve of his conduct internationally, up 20 points in the last year. Still, Just 7 percent of Pakistanis think highly of Obama, making them his most severe critics.
In Africa, Obama maintains a strong image, with half or more of the public in all seven nations surveyed giving Obama a positive rating. He is particularly appreciated in Kenya and Tanzania, where about three quarters of those surveyed approved of his performance.
Latin Americans take a more jaundiced view of the U.S. president. In just four of the nine countries in the survey do half or more approve of his conduct of foreign affairs, with the president’s highest rating a relatively modest 58 percent in El Salvador, while appreciation for his international stewardship is down 17 points in Brazil and 13 points in Argentina in just the past year.
Obama’s lowest regional approval is in the Middle East, where only 13 percent of Palestinians, 17 percent of Jordanians and 19 percent of Egyptians have confidence in Obama’s leadership this year. This contrasts starkly with Israel, where almost three quarters of respondents give Obama a thumbs up, a 10 point rise over the past year.
Still, although President Obama’s popularity has held up relatively well in much of the world over the past 12 months, there has been a considerable drop off since Obama took office in 2009 – his ratings have declined in 19 of 21 countries for which there is comparable data, including a 30 percentage point drop in Argentina, a 25 point fall off in Japan, a 23 point decline in Egypt and 22 point slides in Germany and Russia. Only in Israel has the public’s view of Obama improved significantly.
All this said, however much disappointment global publics may have in Barack Obama, they still prefer him to his predecessor George W. Bush. In 2008, the year he left office, a median of just 19 percent in 20 nations had confidence in Bush’s handling of world affairs, compared with 57 percent that still have confidence in Obama in those same countries.
Of course, with two and a half years remaining in office, the Obama legacy has yet to be written. But one thing is clear: He restored faith in the U.S. presidency in the eyes of many around the world. And while that impact is waning, it still remains a strong American asset abroad.
I love how some of these Right Wing Brits who don't even live in this country like to denigrate and insult our President. It's none of your business what the vast majority of Americans who re-elected him think of him (it's quite favorable) since he saved our country and economy from utter Right Wing Republican ruin. What part of that don't you Brits get? What part of taking out OBL (after Bush gave up after 8 years) don't you get? STFU already, and go back to your fish & chips and keep drinking that tainted tea over there. Mind your own business already, we got this. Hillary will be our next President, so deal with it.
No, Hilary doesn't need to be president. I appreciate your respect for Obama, but you should look into a lad called Bernie Sanders. I can agree with the teabaggers on one thing, which is Hilary doesn't need to be president. If the polls end up giving us the option of Hilary and some teabagger/republican/conservative, I won't be voting. I'll be leaving.
You really need to put down the kool-aid and open your eyes. Obama is a disaster. Then again, you may enjoy foodstamps, poverty, and crumbs from the table top. To each their own.
Goodluck with electing the next Republican president which will happen in the year 3000.
Good for you. Right on target
The world see's Obama as we do at home, a weak and indecisive leader who cannot be counted on.
Jim, unfortunately for you and me the Western world has lost its values, morality and mind, so many still consider this deadloss US president something special. However, thank good reality is setting in and the numbers who consider Obama any good are falling.
I am totally befuddled ( a great English word) as to where you believe Brits or the English denigrate your current president. The number one nation that supported president Bush or president Obama is was and will be the brits. Whether they eat fish and chips or big macs ( ala Americans) ad nauseum seems irrelevant to me.
There is only one thing for sure depending on the media you read most, what that relationship is, not only with brits but globally
Globally he is seen as trying to avoid war against Islamic states and has an awful lot of support for that.
If you and the FZ GPS don't agree fine but stick to reality in your critiques.
FZ GPS is commentary/ critique which while sensible is not a politically or militarily viable solution to the Islamic state's objectives, and or an effective solution, merely a wasted intellectual debate.
After reading your comment I appreciate more how far out of touch the left really is...
Eric, pardon my bluntness, but what utter rubbish you've written about Obama – and I'm not British! The U.S. under Obama now has a $17 trillion debt and this soon to rise after the recent brilliance in Congress, thanks to Obama with John Boehner's foolish co-operation. And no, you don't have just an 8.2 percent unemployed rate. That's another Obama Admin lie. The real unemployment rate could be as high as 21 percent, thanks to his LEFT WING policies! – and no less than 16 percent. So don't waste you time ridiculing the Brits, look to yourselves and finally recognize that you are rapidly going down the toilet with Islam pandering Obama as president and all the subversive elements with which he has surrounded himself.
What a farce! Is this too hide the "BRAND NEW, hot off the press" all time low the news networks are oddly hiding!! I know he is at an all time low in Israel. I am sure that anti-democratic countries love him for his embracing evil ways!!
I BELIEVE HIS FAVORABILITY RATING IS AT AN ALL TIME LOW IN ISRAEL!! YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY
RIGHT. ALSO MOST PEOPLE IN ASIA HAVE LOST CONFIDENCE IN HIS ABILITY TO LEAD. A WEAK
LEADER IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JIMMY CARTER!!!
"...embracing evil ways." Unh hunh. Can you be a little more specific? Precisely what evil does our President embrace? Geez.
ECONOMIC COLLAPSE REASON ILLEGAL WAR AND ROYALBUDGET $1.7TRILLION
next BBC All press and media Arabs leader and G20 leader ELECTRONIC VOTE ,,WHITE HOUSE HOUSE OF COMMAND,HOUSE OF LORD,,MICROSOFT, under control by CONGRESS ATO Z CONTROL BY QUEEN ELIZABETH still British rule the global 21 st century
Royal budget and wedding cost. 10 generation total $ 57 trillion
Each every politician rolling 8 years only
But queen family enjoying 10 generation
GLOBAL ECONOMIC FALL REASON WAR. Improve economy only peace and prayer
WAR cost total $ 3.5 TRILLION. Every poor human blood tear .please saves economic
POVERTY FAMINE &Effected education many people suicide. Many people Drug addict
Jobless PRESENT ECONOMIC CRISIS
Effected All liberal democracy. Billion of people tax pays.
FDI INVESTOR &Joint ventured, effected global Federal Reserve
Effected CNC manufacturer & energy power
BANKRUPT 170 BANKS OVER ALL 87000 BRANCHES
Million of people death and is wounded. NATO &US. Coalition troops 8000 wound 35000, public 800000
Increase every day by day OPEC. Every good leader 8years but queen family enjoying10 th generation Y
Global environment climate change this leads to agricultural &human health problem
HISTORY + 114. MDCCLXXVI +114.UNITEDKING+114.HOUSE OF COMMAND +62
WHITE HOUSE +52 =114. QUEEN+62 POPE +52 =114
Please bring original HISTORY .Six thousand journalist are suppressing the truth of history but in one day it will come out
Now we are in 21st century there were times former journalist exposed truth and sacrificed their precious life for the sake of truth, they unveiled the real history. Perhaps contradicting to their present power and money clouded their mind and our upcoming generation becomes a victim.
We do not believe politicians as we used to, we do not believe the media, and whereas we believe each other”
Thanking you this is turning point of improve GLOBAL ECONOMIC
1. Press freedom 2.libral democracy 3.all country equal currency4.open emigration 5.free trade policy 6.avoid electronic vote 7. Every one equal right
Pragmatism has now fallen foul of the continuing power of the press.
Economic save only 6 point. Peace, prayer, liberty, unity, friendly, simple
It's sad that the rest of the world loves America and are even more US patriots than the own American people. Obama had a bill done by the senate to help the immigration problem, but the house denies. There are many other bills like trying to get gun control, raising the minimum wage, that Obama would love if it passed but the republicans in the house won't even put it for a vote.... These politicians in Washington must hate the American people that all of the good bills Obama wanted to pass the republcans are against it.
Educate yourself Harry Reid is the one holding up progress ,but since you a bigoted libtard I know where your coming from all you low lifes do is lie
you are a perfect example of the new norm in America. You live off of crumbs and like it. Before Obama a minimum wage job was an entry position into the work force. Now it is a career. You want to ear enough money from working at MacDonald's to buy a new home, a new car, vacation the world, and sed your kids to a great college. NEWS FLASH!!!! it ain't happening. You want open borders in hope that immigrants will work so the Government can afford to send you a small check every month. Good luck with that.
The U.S. can barely manage its own affairs. If I lived in a conservative country, I'd be very concerned about the spread of hedonistic, undisciplined American culture. The U.S., to me, is no longer a beacon of stability, but rather a growing cesspool of kinship dysfunction, banal entertainment-escapism, gun-fantasy, cybercrime and know-nothing anti-authoritarianism. Granted, very many nations are in similar or worse shape, but the nations which like Australia, Canada and Scandinavia that are retaining a wholesome character are not powerful enough to lead International Governance.
you mean like the crack head major of Toronto?????????????????? ROTFL
So this guy is saying the Asians love U president than Americans do. :) I am thinking our State dept may need to take his visa away before he runs of to Saudi Arabia!!
If those other countries love him so much, they can have him!
Obama Legacy: killing caged ailing Bin-Laden and giving us a brutal and lethal ISIS having 10's of thousands commandos. Wow, what a legacy!
Anyone with a brain sees him the same way now that they did in 2008. Useless inept narcissistic con-man.
Recall Obama now!
You can always tell the comments that come from the rightwingnuts: They're the ones with no facts, no reality, no truth, full of hate, and completely ignorant sounding.
The world sees president Obama as a knappy headed George Bush.
And president Obama's legacy will be this: The man who rounded up over 3.5 million illegal Mexicans who were criminals and deported them to Mexican prisons with some being tossed into forced labor camps. (Homeland Security Prisons) And as the man who turned the US military loose on those who truly terrorize U.S. ...outlaw street and biker gangs.
you are sick!
sheesh. end u v blog.
tenang aja, ga ada yg aneh2 kok, sensian amat
The world sees Obama as two words . . . . a*s hole. Case closed.
The world sees Obama as an a*s hole and a moron..................
He has done well, given the extraordinary challenges he had inherited from George Bush. He never had a good team at his disposal for a longer period of time to work for results. Every nomination was delayed. Republicans did not cooperate with him even at crucial moments and he had to go through severe criticisms which no other Presidents would have gone through such nasty comment and insinuations. He has kept himself cool and under control. The best part is his contribution to bring down Anti-Americanism and given the global leaders a confidence that America is ready to do business jointly, collaboratively, and cooperatively. Yes, He has some mistakes. But given the challenges and non cooperation, his achievement are limited but significant in bringing America back on track.
The Global Public Square is where you can make sense of the world every day with insights and explanations from CNN's Fareed Zakaria, leading journalists at CNN, and other international thinkers. Join GPS editor Jason Miks and get informed about global issues, exposed to unique stories, and engaged with diverse and original perspectives.
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