Britain's BBC network reported Wednesday that of the 21 countries that participated in the survey, the greatest decline in support for Obama's foreign policies was in China with 27% support compared to 57%.
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Among the countries surveyed there was widespread opposition to US drone strikes. At least 50% of respondents in 17 countries disapproved of the strikes, with the largest percentages in the Middle East, Mexico and Greece. While 62% of Americans support the strikes, those supporting the strikes in other countries are in the minority.
US drone policy unpopular (Photo: AFP)
Though the US does receive support from its closest ally - the British are almost evenly divided (44% approve, 47% disapprove) when it comes to the drone policy.
There is little support for Obama, however, in the predominantly Muslim nations surveyed. Fewer than three-in-ten express confidence in him in Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and Jordan.
And roughly a year after he ordered the Abbottabad raid that killed Osama bin Laden, just 7% of Pakistanis have a positive view of Obama, the same percentage that voiced confidence in President George W. Bush during the final year of his administration.
Even in many nations where overall ratings for the US remain low, however, certain aspects of American "soft power" are often well-regarded. For instance, the American way of doing business is especially popular in the Arab World – more than half in Lebanon (63%), Tunisia (59%), Jordan (59%) and Egypt (52%) say they like this element of America’s image.
One issue raised in the survey may be a cause for concern in Washington: Perceptions of China’s economic power continue to grow.
The belief that China is the world’s top economy has become more common in the last year in other parts of the world as well, including Brazil, Japan, Turkey and Lebanon.
Views about the economic balance of power have shifted dramatically over time among the 14 countries surveyed each year from 2008 to 2012.
In 2008, before the onset of the global financial crisis, a median of 45% named the US as the world’s leading economic power, while just 22% said China. Today, only 36% say the US, while 42% believe China is in the top position.
Yet a positive note for Obama and the US, a majority in 18 of 20 countries admire the US for its science and technology, and most of the publics surveyed embrace American music, movies and television.
Around the world, US ideas about democracy and American ways of doing business have become more popular since Obama took office.
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