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Wednesday, 8 July 2009

mixed opinions

World Public Opinion is an interesting site. There is a little bit of information below., 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.
They recently conducted a poll on on how Obama and US foreign policy was viewed as follows: 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.
Their results can be summed up in the title, which is:

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

It's quite a well balanced poll, as most of the polls from this site seem to be, and results are not as black and white as the title might lead you to believe. Here is a wee excerpt, showing the mix of opinions, and I have picked out a more negative example. So, mainly Obama is viewed favourably except maybe in those countries most strongly affected by U.S. foreign policy. U.S. foreign policy itself does not get such a thumbs up:
Views of Obama are especially positive among Europeans including 92 percent of the British, 89 percent of the Germans, and 88 percent of the French. Even a majority of the Chinese concur (55%). The exceptions are majority-Muslim nations and Russia. Those saying they have not too much confidence or no confidence at all include majorities in the Palestinian territories (67%), Pakistan (62%), Egypt (60%), and Iraq (57%) as well as Russia (55%).

But on average, only one in four agrees that the US is "an important leader in promoting international laws and sets a good example by following them," while two-thirds say "the US tries to promote international laws for other countries, but is hypocritical because it does not follow these rules itself." Here too, overall, there has been no significant change from 2008. The most negative are France (79%) and Egypt (78%). Even in America's close ally Britain three-quarters say the US is hypocritical. Kenya and Nigeria are the only nations that give the US good grades (55% and 52% respectively) on complying with international law.

Americans, though, think the US has changed on this front. While in 2008 a majority of Americans (54%) agreed that the US was hypocritical, now 56 percent say the US sets a good example by following international law
. Read more.

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this cutie was taken by Crazyegg95 in 2005 and is from flickr