Obama losing fans in Muslim world
The perception remains that US acts "unilaterally," "does not consider interests of other countries," Pew survey finds.
US President Barack Obama Photo: REUTERS/Larry Downing
WASHINGTON – Approval of US President Barack Obama in the Muslim world is
increasingly falling, according to a Pew survey released Wednesday that largely
blamed his foreign policies for the decline.
“There remains a widespread
perception that the US acts unilaterally and does not consider the interests of
other countries,” the Pew Research Center summarizes. “In predominantly Muslim
nations, American anti-terrorism efforts are still widely unpopular.”
survey singles out drone strikes targeting extremist leaders as being
particularly disliked, even in European countries that give higher approval
ratings to Obama. Disappointment is also evident in his handling of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to the 21- country survey of more than
26,000 people conducted between March 17 and April 20.
countries polled – Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Jordan, Turkey and Pakistan –
confidence in Obama has dropped from 33 percent in 2009 to 24% in 2012. Approval
of his international policies has fallen even more sharply, from 34% to 15%.
America’s image overall has gone from 25% favorability to 15%. Obama does,
however, continue to enjoy higher ratings in Muslim countries than
then-president George W. Bush did in 2008 – as much as 22 points higher in some
cases and tied in only one, the 7% approval Pakistanis have given both
When it comes to Obama’s anti-terrorism policies, Lebanon was
the Muslim country to give his efforts the highest grade, with 32% approving,
while most Muslim countries were significantly less supportive.
drone attacks, 12% of Tunisians approve of the measure, with all other Muslim
countries in the single digits. In contrast, 62% of Americans approve of
Though few Muslim countries in 2009 expected Obama to be “fair with
Israelis and Palestinians,” as the question puts it – Egypt at 24% expressed the
most optimism – the numbers have dropped markedly since.
Now only 11% of
Egyptians think Obama has been fair toward the two parties, the same proportion
as in Jordan.
Nine percent of Turks, 5% of Pakistanis and just 3% of
Tunisians agree. Lebanese give him the highest marks, at 18%.
however, mostly think Obama has been fair toward both parties, though the number
has dropped over the course of his presidency.
While 77% thought he would
be fair upon entering office, 60% still think he has been.
Israel was not
among the countries surveyed.