Though Obama Viewed Positively, Still Much Criticism of US Foreign Policy: Global Poll

Though Obama Viewed Positively, Still Much Criticism of US Foreign Policy: Global Poll

July 7, 2009

Country-by-Country Summaries (PDF)
Questionnaire/Methodology (PDF)
Full PDF Version

A new poll finds that around the world US foreign policy continues to receive heavy criticism on a variety of fronts, even though in 13 of 19 nations most people say they have confidence in President Obama to do the right thing in international affairs.

(Official White House Photo)

The US is criticized for coercing other nations with its superior power (15 of 19 nations), failing to abide by international law (17 of 19 nations), and for how it is dealing with climate change (11 of 18 nations). Overall, views are mixed on whether the US is playing a mainly positive or mainly negative role in the world.

Asked whether they have confidence in Barack Obama to “do the right thing regarding world affairs,” for all nations (excluding the US) an average of 61 percent say they have some or a lot of confidence.

But asked how the US treats their government, few–on average just one in four–say it “treats us fairly,” while two-thirds say that it “abuses its greater power to make us do what the US wants.” Overall, these views are no better than they were in 2008. Only three countries diverged from this view (Kenya, Nigeria, and Germany).

In all nations polled, majorities say that the US “use(s) the threat of military force to gain advantages.” Majorities range from 61 percent in India and Poland to 92 percent in South Korea and include America’s close ally Great Britain (83%). On average, across all nations polled, 77 percent perceive the US as threatening. Even 71 percent of Americans agree.

Steven Kull, director of comments, “Most people around the world seem to have a positive view of the young new captain at the helm of the American ship of state, though many people see this huge ship as still carrying forward domineering policies.” conducted the poll of 19,923 respondents in 20 nations that comprise 62 percent of the world’s population. This includes most of the largest nations–China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Russia–as well as Mexico, Germany, Great Britain, France, Poland, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Kenya, Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, the Palestinian territories, and South Korea. Polling was also conducted in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau., a collaborative project involving research centers from around the world, is managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. The margins of error range from +/-3 to 4 percent. Not all questions were asked in all nations. The survey was conducted between April 4 and June 12, 2009, prior to Obama’s speech in Cairo but subsequent to his Ankara speech. Funding for this research was provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Calvert Foundation.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s