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Obama favored for reelection... in Europe and Japan

13 june 2012, 14:14
US President Barack Obama waves at supporters during a campaign event. ©AFP
US President Barack Obama waves at supporters during a campaign event. ©AFP
US President Barack Obama would cruise to reelection in November if Europeans and Japanese could vote, but his popularity is slipping in China and Muslim nations, AFP reports according to a poll out.

A month-long, 21-nation survey by the Pew Research Center found approval of Obama has sharply declined since he took office in early 2009, and US economic clout is increasingly seen to be waning, even among key US allies in Europe.

But despite some general disappointment with the president's policies, Europeans fervently support his re-election, including in France, where 92 percent of respondents want to see a second Obama term.

Nearly nine in 10 Germans also favor his reelection, along with 73 percent of British respondents.

Some 72 percent of Brazilians also want to see Obama re-elected as do two thirds of Japanese respondents.

Such numbers would be a godsend for Obama domestically, where he is locked in a neck-and-neck battle with Republican challenger Mitt Romney. A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll put Obama ahead 47-43 percent against his rival.

Obama is facing strong opposition in some key spots overseas, Pew said.

In China, confidence in Obama has plunged by 24 points and approval of his policies has dropped 30 points. Just 31 percent of Chinese want Obama reelected, compared with 39 percent who do not.

And in Russia, a country with which the Obama administration pledged to "reset" troubled relations, 25 percent are in favor of his re-election and 27 percent opposed.

Even in Europe, where support is high, confidence in Obama has dropped by six points, from 86 to 80 percent, since 2009.

There is broader opposition to Obama in the Muslim world, where criticism of US foreign policy runs high even after the administration's support for last year's pro-democracy protests in Egypt and elsewhere.

In Lebanon, 62 percent do not want four more years of Obama. In Jordan the figure is 73 percent, and in Egypt it rises to a startling 76 percent.

"America's image is more positive than it was before (Obama) came in office, in Europe, in Brazil, in Japan, in some parts of the world," Richard Wike, associate director of Pew's Global Attitudes Project, told AFP.

"In many Muslim countries we haven't seen the same Obama effect on America's image that we've seen elsewhere."

In Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and Jordan less than three in 10 expressed confidence in Obama.

In Pakistan, where Obama ordered the daring US commando raid that killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, confidence in Obama was a dismal seven percent -- the same as for his predecessor George W. Bush in his final year in office.

But the United States still fares better in the eyes of the world now than four years ago.

America's image "is certainly more positive today than it was during the last year of the Bush administration, and President Obama gets higher ratings than president Bush just about everywhere," Wike said.

"But it's also true that Obama's rating has slipped a bit in most countries that we surveyed," he added.

"In many countries I think there's a clear sense of disappointment in his policies."

On the economic front, America is seen as a declining power, with growing numbers of respondents naming China, not the United States, as the world's leading economy.

In seven of the eight European nations surveyed, a plurality of respondents said they consider China the global economic leader.

Last year 55 percent in Japan named the United States as the top economy, compared to 33 percent naming China. But today, 45 percent of Japanese name the United States, while 43 percent name China.

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