Obama Restores U.S. Approval Worldwide; Foreign Right Likes Us More Than Foreign Left

Does our national reputation matter to our national interest? Is the United States stronger, safer, and better able to advance its principles and goals when other nations view us favorably?

If so, then data from the Pew Research Center show that President Barack Obama has carried out a more successful Presidency than President George W. Bush.
Pew: US overseas favorability Bush v Obama

President Bush took the relatively strong favorability ratings with Poland, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Germany left him by President Bill Clinton and the placid 1990s and drove them all down during his eight years in office. President Obama immediately restored a lot of confidence in the U.S. and has mostly sustained that improved favorability rating with our allies.

But don’t think that the improvement in our ratings comes from Marxist Obama pandering to Euro-Lefties. In France, Sweden, Greece, Australia, Spain, the U.K., and Canada, Pew finds that the U.S. is significantly more popular among right-wingers than left-wingers:

Pew Left-Right diffs overseas view US

One area where the Obama Administration has been losing overseas confidence is our support for personal freedoms:

Pew global perception US support personal freedom

Our greatest strength is our principles. One of our greatest American principles is our support for personal freedom, something we’ve generally upheld better than any of our enemies (the Confederacy, Nazis, Soviets, al-Qaeda and ISIS). When other nations don’t see the American government defending personal freedoms, we lose serious clout.

Returning to my opening question, President Obama’s restoration of other nations’ favorable perceptions of the United States do not appear to correlate with other nations’ perceptions of our power:

Pew foreign perceptions US influence

Among fifteen nations surveyed, ten have larger percentages of respondents who think the U.S. is less important and powerful as a world leader today compared to a decade ago than think we have more global influence.

Note that in all of those countries except for Japan, a majority of citizens say that U.S. global influence has either remained the same or increased over the last ten years. All of those countries except for Greece have majorities who are confident in President Obama’s ability to do the right thing in world affairs. None of those fifteen countries have the same level of confidence in Hillary Clinton… but the world’s confidence in Donald Trump’s ability to do global policy right is abysmal:

Pew Global confidence in leaders

No matter what confidence other nations have in President Obama and Hillary Clinton to be leaders of the free world, they have far less in Donald Trump. The only nations with more than 20% confidence in Trump are Italy and China… both of which have their own unpleasant experiences with dictators.


4 Responses to Obama Restores U.S. Approval Worldwide; Foreign Right Likes Us More Than Foreign Left

  1. Roger Elgersma

    Doing what is right is always more important to the little guys, countries, businesses or kids on the block, than to just prove that you rule. Both Bushes wanted to have a new world order where we rule. The younger Bush was way to blatant about it. Trump just wants to rule and win. He is way to out of balance and most of the world knows it.

    European right wingers and our lefties are really about in the same spot politically. We may have some cultural differences but mostly the same. That is why our lefties are more impressive to Europeans. Their cultures are older so maybe we are heading that way as well. Maybe. We started out very independent and that is some of our heritage. They started out monarchies and saw all the people in it together is the only way to stop dictatorship. So they see good government as everyone is in it together rather than we are all independent to get success. So they will probably always be somewhat more liberal than we are. Here the right wingers think if you can not make it on your own, tough luck.

    Europe has worked with both Obama and HIllary and if they see she is not as good as him, could be a warning flag. Not sure where they see the difference is, so can not judge that just by their attitudes. Would like more info on how they got to that attitude about her.

  2. President Obama brought dignity, respect and trust back to the Office of President of the United States. I will miss him. And, the First Lady. I think there are some congressional members that had trouble having a black president. I do feel that Republicans dug their heels in which led to discord and lack of passage of bills and laws that could have helped the middle class and working class. Pres. Obama initiated a healthcare reform act. Was it perfect? no. but no one else; had the courage to do that. Mr. Trump is a dictator in the way he presents issues and his agenda and that scares me.

  3. mike from iowa

    Must have been all the bowing and apologizing for dumbass dubya what did it.

  4. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr.

    Well, to maintain, gain, or enhance world confidence as an American president is easier than one might think. You just have to keep from starting a war on false premises.

    Given that one of the major candidates has a major problem with the truth while his polling numbers are gaining, it might be wise for all of us to place put calls in some political prediction market on a declining world’s confidence in the US after the November 8th election, however.