Obama, U.S., Clinton enjoy high ratings around world; confidence in Trump low

WASHINGTON, June 29 (UPI) — President Barack Obama — and, by extension, the United States — continue to have a positive reputation around the world, particularly in Europe and Asia, a survey by the Pew Research Center shows.

The poll, conducted in 10 European nations, four Asian countries, Canada and the United States shows that half or more respondents in 15 of those 16 nations have a favorable opinion of the American president.

“As he nears the end of his presidency, Barack Obama continues to enjoy a broad degree of international popularity,” the report says.

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The Good

Obama enjoys confidence to a large degree in many of the 10 European nations polled, where nearly 80 percent of respondents said they are confident the president will do the right thing in world affairs.

That number exceeded 80 percent in France (84 percent), Germany (86 percent), the Netherlands (91 percent) and Sweden (93 percent).

Similarly, 63 percent of Europeans expressed a positive view of the United States, compared to 30 percent who harbor an unfavorable opinion.

Poland and Italy are the most approving of the United States — 74 percent and 72 percent, respectively. In Poland, just 16 percent expressed a negative U.S. view, the study’s lowest.

Of the four Asian-Pacific nations, more than 50 percent in three of them offered a positive assessment of the United States — 72 percent in Japan, 60 percent in Australia and 56 percent in India. In China, that number was 50 percent.

In Canada, 65 percent hold a favorable view.

The Bad

A favorable view of the United States, though, is not universal. The research revealed multiple nations where the U.S. presence throughout the global geopolitical landscape is not met with hearty approval.

Greece expressed the least favorable view of the United States, with just 38 percent approval and 58 percent disapproval. Greeks’ approval of Obama’s leadership was recorded at just 41 percent, the lowest of any nation.

The Greek government’s recent fiscal difficulties and close ties with Russia are seen as possible reasons for the abundance of anti-U.S. sentiment.

The study, which additionally sought opinions about Americans, also indicates that Greeks have a certain disdain for Americans — viewing them as arrogant (72 percent), greedy (68 percent) and even violent (63 percent).

In fact, Greece was the only nation surveyed in which a majority expressed an unfavorable view of the United States.

Better than Bush

The number of people who hold the United States in high esteem has risen throughout Obama’s presidency, rebounding from the Bush administration, when the reputation of the United States took a hit worldwide, largely owing to the fallout from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Between 2001 and 2009, Pew research showed rising anti-American feelings worldwide that stemmed from Bush’s leadership. Since 2009, the figures have dramatically increased in Obama’s favor — particularly among certain European nations like Germany and France.

“The shift was especially dramatic in Western Europe, where assessments of Bush were grim, but subsequent views of Obama have been remarkably positive,” the report states.

The Replacements

While the Pew research focuses on Obama, it also looks at attitudes toward the candidates in line to replace him.

Hillary Clinton, seen by many as representing a general continuation of Obama’s policies, enjoys similarly high ratings in the nations surveyed. In Europe, nearly 60 percent say they believe Clinton will handle world affairs appropriately — compared to 27 percent who said they aren’t confident in her abilities.

Clinton enjoyed her highest ratings in Sweden (93 percent), Germany (79 percent) and the Netherlands (76 percent) — and her lowest in Greece (15 percent) and India (28 percent).

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Republican Donald Trump, meanwhile, doesn’t enjoy high ratings in any of the countries polled. Only 9 percent of respondents in the 10 EU nations said they are confident in his ability to handle world affairs. Eighty-five percent expressed no confidence.

Trump’s highest ratings were found in China (22 percent) and Italy (21 percent), and his lowest in Greece (3 percent), Germany (6 percent) and Sweden (6 percent).

More than 20,100 people were polled for the Pew report between April and May.

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