Friday, 6 August 2010

Poll: Obama’s Popularity Dims in Arab World

Poll: Obama’s Popularity Dims in Arab World

06/08/2010 A majority of people in the Arab world now hold a negative view of President Barack Obama and the United States in a substantial change from how he was seen at the start of his presidency, according to a public opinion poll released on Thursday.

Sixty-two percent hold a dim view of Obama and the United States compared with 20 percent who view them in a positive light, according to the 2010 Arab Public Opinion Poll released by Washington-based think tank The Brookings Institution.

In a survey early in his presidency, only 23 percent of respondents in six countries expressed a negative view of Obama and the United States, while 45 percent were positive about the new administration, which took office in January 2009.

In the latest poll, 63 percent said they were discouraged by Obama's Middle East policy and 16 percent said they were hopeful.

The findings also marked a reversal from the previous year, when more than half were optimistic about U.S. Middle East policy and only 15 percent were discouraged.

A majority (61 percent) of the nearly 4,000 people in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates said they were most disappointed with Obama's policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Iraq was the second most disappointing issue, but it was a distant second with a mere 27 percent of respondents calling it a top priority.

Among other findings, a majority of the Arab public now see a nuclear-armed Iran as being better for the Middle East.

Last year, only 29 percent thought a nuclear-armed Iran would be good for the region, while 46 percent said the likely outcome would be more negative.

The poll of 3,976 people was conducted June 29-July 20, by the University of Maryland and Zogby International. The margin of error is plus or minus 1.6 percentage points.

In the meantime, the poll saw that the most admired leaders were Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Venezuela's leader Hugo Chavez, the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

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