Thu, Jun 14, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Europeans, Japanese like Obama, Chinese do not

AFP, Washington

US President Barack Obama would cruise to re-election in November if Europeans and Japanese could vote, but his popularity is slipping in China and Muslim nations, according to a poll released yesterday.

A month-long, 21-nation survey by the Pew Research Center found approval of Obama has sharply declined since he took office in early 2009, and US economic clout is increasingly seen to be waning, even among key US allies in Europe.

However, despite some general disappointment with the president’s policies, Europeans fervently support his re-election, including in France, where 92 percent of respondents want to see a second Obama term.

Nearly nine in 10 Germans also favor his reelection, along with 73 percent of British respondents. About 72 percent of Brazilians also want to see Obama re-elected, as do two-thirds of Japanese respondents.

Such numbers would be a godsend for Obama domestically, where he is locked in a neck-and-neck battle with Republican challenger Mitt Romney. A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll put Obama ahead 47-43 percent against his rival.

Obama is facing strong opposition in some key spots overseas, Pew said. In China, confidence in Obama has plunged by 24 points and approval of his policies has dropped 30 points. Just 31 percent of Chinese want Obama re-elected, compared with 39 percent who do not. And in Russia, a country with which the Obama administration pledged to “reset” troubled relations, 25 percent are in favor of his re-election and 27 percent opposed.

Even in Europe, where support is high, confidence in Obama has dropped by 6 points, from 86 percent to 80 percent, since 2009.

There is broader opposition to Obama in the Muslim world, where criticism of US foreign policy runs high even after the administration’s support for last year’s pro-democracy protests in Egypt and elsewhere. In Lebanon, 62 percent do not want four more years of Obama. In Jordan the figure is 73 percent, and in Egypt it rises to a startling 76 percent.

“America’s image is more positive than it was before [Obama] came in office, in Europe, in Brazil, in Japan, in some parts of the world,” said Richard Wike, associate director of Pew’s Global Attitudes Project.

“In many Muslim countries we haven’t seen the same Obama effect on America’s image that we’ve seen elsewhere,” he said.

In Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and Jordan, less than three in 10 expressed confidence in Obama.

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