WASHINGTON (14-Mar-2013/PNA/Xinhua) – The median approval of U.S. leadership across 130 countries declined to 41 percent in 2012, down by 8 percentage points from 2009, the first year of President Barack Obama’s administration, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.
At the same time, the disapproval rating of U.S. leadership has risen to 25 percent in 2012, up 4 percentage points from 2009, the poll showed. Still, the 41 percent approval rating is higher than the 34 percent at the close of George W. Bush administration in 2008.
The image of U.S. leadership continued to be the strongest worldwide in Africa in 2012, where the approval rating stood at 70 percent against 19 percent who disapproved, according to the poll.
U.S. leadership remained far less popular in North Africa, except in Libya where the United States helped overthrow the rule of former strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Fifty-four percent of Libyans surveyed before the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi approved of U.S. leadership in 2012. In Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt, no more than one-third approved.
While the U.S. image stabilized in the Americas in 2012, it slipped in Europe amid economic turmoil on the continent. Median approval of U.S. leadership in Europe declined to 36 percent from 42 percent in 2011, and 47 percent in the first year of Obama administration.
Although the Obama administration shifted its foreign policy focus to Asia since 2011, the approval ratings of U.S. leadership there were found to be heading in a negative direction in 2012. Still, the 37 percent median approval in Asia in 2012 was higher than any rating during the Bush administration.
In fact, the highest disapproval rating of U.S. leadership was in Pakistan, where 79 percent of the surveyed held negative views, followed by Palestine where the disapproval rating stood at 77 percent. Pakistanis’ disapproval soared 30 percentage points between 2012 and 2011, amid an increase in U.S. drone attacks and massive protests against an anti-Islam U.S. film released in last September.
This shift suggests that Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, who took office in February, “may not find global audiences as receptive to the U.S. agenda as they have in the past,” Gallup said. (PNA/Xinhua)