Confidence in Obama on World Affairs

By Nelson Graves

The Unites States enjoys broad global support for its military efforts against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, but its post-9/11 interrogation methods that many consider torture are widely criticized.

Globally, U.S. President Barack Obama is viewed positively, but his ratings have fallen sharply in Israel, and the harshest assessments of Obama are found in increasingly anti-American Russia.

Those are among the results of annual surveys just published by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center. You can read the Center’s survey on global attitudes here. The poll on how the world views Obama is here.

Based on data from 40 countries, the surveys touch on the U.S. defense pivot to Asia, China’s global image, U.S. defense of personal freedoms, America’s global image, Obama’s handling of foreign policy issues, China and the global balance of power.

Many of the results will come as no surprise. But some stand out:

  • Americans are more supportive of using torture than most others around the world.
  • The U.S. defense pivot to Asia is generally welcomed by China’s neighbors — but not in Malaysia or Pakistan.
  • The United States is seen more positively than China in Europe and Latin America, but not in the Middle East.
  • Israelis rate the United States far more positively than they do Obama.
  • Jordan, along with Russia and the Palestinian Territories, is among the countries with the least confidence in Obama.
  • Among foreign policy issues, Obama received his weakest ratings on his handling of North Korea and the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Among U.S. citizens, he was rated weakest on Iran’s nuclear program and ISIS.
  • Most respondents think the United States is the number one global economic power, but a majority think China will eventually surpass the United States, with that conviction strongest in Europe.
  • A majority have a favorable opinion of China, with its ratings strongest in Africa and weakest in the European Union. But there was a generally negative view of China’s respect for human rights.
  • Americans are among the least supportive of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade and investment treaty involving 12 nations on both sides of the Pacific.

Mostly Favorable Ratings for U.S.

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