New survey shows Obama more popular abroad than at home

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Barack Obama is even more popular abroad than he is at home, according to a new survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project.

Pew asked residents of 24 nations and the Palestinian Territories how much confidence they had in Mr. Obama do to the right thing in world affairs. Citizens of 10 countries rated Obama higher than Americans did.

Obama outpaces Bush

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Some 74 percent of Americans said they had a lot or some confidence in the President’s ability on the world stage. That was a strong performance -- double the score earned by former president George W. Bush in 2008.

But Obama’s standing among his fellow citizens was eclipsed in several cases by how he is viewed overseas. The president earned the highest confidence rating -- 94 percent -- in Kenya where his father was born. The president was born in Hawaii.

Here is the percentage of individuals in selected countries expressing a lot or some confidence in Obama’s handling of world affairs:

Kenya 94 percent
Germany 93 percent
France 91 percent
Canada 88 percent
Nigeria 88 percent
Britain 86 percent
Japan 85 percent
S. Korea 81 percent
India 77 percent
Brazil 76 percent
US 74 percent

Will foreign popularity hurt?

Speaking Thursday at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters, Pew Global Attitudes Project Director Andrew Kohut said he doesn't think Obama’s popularity abroad will hurt him with American voters.

“I am sure that people who have very, very negative views about Obama and nativist opinions will say, 'Boy, this is real reason to indict him.' But most Americans have been very concerned about the image of America, and I think they are going to read this as good news and as a credit to Obama,” Kohut said. “Keep in mind his foreign policy ratings [among US voters] are better than his domestic policy ratings, and I think this will just fall in with that pattern.”

The Pew survey, conducted May 18 to June 16, found a huge gap between how Obama and Bush are viewed overseas. Among the 21 countries surveyed in both 2008 and 2009, the media confidence rating for Bush was 17 percent while it was 71 percent for Obama.

Israel is the one country where Obama's ratings did not exceed those for Bush. Some 56 percent of Israelis expressed confidence in Obama in 2009, versus 57 percent for Bush in 2008.

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