Middle East Turmoil Closely Followed; Romney’s Comments Viewed Negatively
About four-in-ten Americans (43%) have followed news about the attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East and the killing of an American ambassador very closely. Those following have much more positive opinions about Barack Obama’s handling of the situation than Mitt Romney’s comments on the crisis.
Obama More Popular Abroad than at Home, Global Image of U.S. Continues to Benefit
The president gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from the world (with the notable exception of the U.S.) for the way he has handled the world economic crisis. Obama’s personal popularity remains high, as do favorable views of the U.S. In a striking difference from the Bush years, while many around the world disagree with Obama’s foreign policies, the U.S. image has not been significantly dented as a result. Muslim countries, however, continue to hold a negative view of America and most also give Obama unfavorable ratings.
The Public’s Political Agenda
Strengthening the nation’s economy and improving the job situation continue to top nation’s priority list. However, shifts have occurred on the priority give to two issues: energy (down) and the budget deficit (up). Extremely large partisan gaps exist on the importance of health care and global warming.
Declining Support for bin Laden and Suicide Bombing
Confidence in al Qaeda’s leader has dropped considerably in recent years, particularly in Indonesia, Pakistan and Jordan. Violence against civilians in defense of Islam is also increasingly seen as never justified.
Confidence in Obama Lifts U.S. Image Around the World
In many countries opinions of the United States are now about as positive as they were at the beginning of the decade before George W. Bush took office. Improvements in the U.S. image have been most pronounced in Western Europe, where favorable ratings for both the nation and the American people have soared. But opinions of America have also become more positive in key countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, as well. Signs of improvement in views of America are seen even in some predominantly Muslim countries.
Few in Pakistan Support Extremists — But Few Favor Military Confrontation
Extremist groups are increasingly demonstrating their ability to strike throughout a country in which support for al Qaeda or the Taliban has declined sharply in recent years and where very few agree with their widely noted tactic of preventing education for girls.
India: Global Optimism, Local Fears
Recent Pew Global Attitudes surveys show India clearly embracing the economic aspects of globalization. But, even before the Mumbai terrorist attacks, the Indian public was greatly worried about terrorism.
Unfavorable Views of Both Jews and Muslims Increase in Europe
Publics that view Jews unfavorably also tend to see Muslims in a negative light. However, the trend in negative views toward Muslims in Europe has occurred over a longer period of time than recently growing anti-Semitic sentiment.
All the World’s a Stage
Iraq, the war on terrorism, support for Israel and other key features of U.S. foreign policy continue to generate animosity toward America in the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere. On the bright side, America seems to be winning the battle of ideas on some important fronts and improving U.S. image problems is not impossible.
View from Pakistan: Before Bhutto’s Assassination, Public Opinion Was Increasingly Opposed to Terrorism
What the former prime minister’s death means for the country’s stability is highly uncertain, but it is clear that Pakistanis, while supportive of democratic elections and disapproving of militant extremism, remain highly skeptical of the U.S.