February 18th, 2009
04:49 PM ET
4 years ago

Poll: Obama faces tough global sales job

Obama will travel to Canada on Thursday, his first international trip as president.
Obama will travel to Canada on Thursday, his first international trip as president.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – On the eve of President Barack Obama's first trip outside of the United States, a new national poll suggests that Americans think that world leaders have far more respect for him than they did for former President George W. Bush. But the Gallup survey, released Wednesday, indicates little improvement from last year in the number of respondents who are satisfied with America's standing in the world.

President Obama travels to Canada Thursday, where he’ll discuss trade issues and world affairs with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Sixty-seven percent of those questioned in the poll released on the eve of that trip say they think world leaders respect the new president. That compares with just 24 percent who said the same thing about President Bush a year ago.

The results come from Gallup's world affairs survey, which has been conducted each February since 2001.

The poll suggests American believe the president will have to work hard to improve America's international standing. Forty-five percent of those questioned think the U.S. rates favorably in the eyes of the world. That's roughly the same as the 43 percent who felt that way last year, under President Bush. And just 32 percent said they are satisfied with the standing of the United States in the world - barely higher than the 3 in 10 who felt the same way a year ago.

"Americans have a realistic view of what it will take to improve the view of the United States abroad," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "People in other countries didn't like George W. Bush, but they also didn't like his policies. Electing a different president may be step one, but step two won't occur until the new president changes U.S. policy, and that hasn't happened yet."

The Gallup poll was conducted February 9-12, with 1,022 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. Mari

    President Obama had inherited the Bush Disaster! He needs all the prayers and support he can get!

    February 18, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. Gary - Denver, Colorado

    I voted for President Obama and am pleased to see this poll. But, really, the guy hasn't done anything yet. We know a stimulus package of some type was coming out, anyway. We're not even a month removed from inaugaration day.

    Besides, who really knows how foreign governments view this new administration? The answer is nobody. We'll find out soon enough, though, by their actions in the coming months and years.

    February 18, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. Kurt C.

    I thought the world loved us again now that the messiah was in the White House. What happened?

    February 18, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  4. Dutch/Hampton Roads, VA

    67% compared to 24%. I'm satisfied with presidency already. President Obama is a uniter, not a divider. I think he'll be able to negotiate with other leaders in an effective way for the American people. i know this because he hsows that he is willing to reach out to others, as he did with the republicans.

    February 18, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Think about Obama's visits abroad when he was campaigning, it was an overwhelming welcome. Now that he is president and when he does make his global tours he will be greatly supported and respected.

    February 18, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. Gary

    Our standing in the world would be much better if we...

    1. Stop spending money that we don't have.
    2. Follow through and stabilized Iraq and Afghanistan then leave.
    3. Find and kill Bin Ladin.
    4. Build stronger alliances with Democratic countries (india etc).
    5. Work with our partners in Europe to stop Iran from getting the nuke.
    6. Work with our partners in Asia to disarm North Korea.
    7. Improve our education system.
    8. Become energy independent.
    9. Continue to help the 3rd world generously.

    I'm not sure we can do all of this, we've already failed to do #1

    February 18, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  7. karen-Phoenix

    The world loved President Obama before we did! Now he's working his tail off to get us out of this mess and we love him for it!!! Nothing is perfect, but if he can get us half way better than what we are now, thank you sooo much Mr. President Obama and your team!!

    February 18, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. geraldine

    rest assured – as we get weaker financially and militarily our favorability will improve abroad. So yes, Obama will earn higher favaorability ratings. It's kind of like an unemployed parent that lets his high school kid drink beer in the house – much cooler and fun to be around.

    To pre-empt the "yea but look what bush did" response that this post will surely receive: SO WHAT – pointing out how bad Bush was is not a strategy for future success.

    February 18, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  9. tomite

    America should be thankful that it has a PR mongul for a president. No one is more qualified right now to improve America's image abroad.

    Please lend your support.

    February 18, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. John

    Obama certainly puts a better public face on the presidency than W did, But then, W set the bar quite low.

    Time will tell whether Obama can actually do a better job.

    February 18, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. no corporate politics

    Continuing the Viet Nam, I mean Afghanistan war (new airstrikes, troops on the way), supporting Israel's Gaza assault (he is sending them money), is not really winning any friends. He had a choice to change this but has not.

    His airstrikes since the innauguration have already killed people he claims are terrorists, and his funding of Israel isn't doing much better.

    He didn't think we'd notice past all the financial nonsense and media oppression smoke-screen. But some of us are noticing anyway.

    The one who is going to have it tough is H.R.Clinton. She is a smart lady but it is going to be tough to explain Obama's policy of "tell-them-whatever-they-want-to-hear".

    February 18, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  12. no corporate politics

    His airstrikes since the innauguration have already killed people he claims are terrorists, and his funding of Israel isn't doing much better.

    He didn't think we'd notice past all the financial nonsense and media oppression smoke-screen. But some of us are noticing anyway.

    February 18, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. reggie

    Global test? What about the test here at home??? So far, I am not impressed. The president still seems to be in campaign mode and always searching for the tv cameras. Mr. President, get your butt into the Oval Office and get to work!!!

    February 18, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  14. A Canadian

    Americans are cowards in regards to their standing in the eyes of the rest of the world!!

    February 18, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  15. Shari, NY

    He'll be just fine despite the harsh realities facing him now. I believe he is getting even more respect abroad than he is getting at home.

    February 18, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  16. peakarack

    Where's Barack Hussein Obama bounce?

    February 18, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    @ Gary

    How cute...you made a list of all of Obama's plans and put a GOP talking point at the top.

    February 18, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. arithmetic is liberal

    But. Nothing. Has. Happened. Abroad. Yet.

    So of course those numbers would be the same!!

    February 18, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. mmm

    obama is a deusch bag.

    February 18, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. vic

    I have complete trust in President Obama.

    February 18, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  21. Once you vote Black

    You must admit Obama keep rolling. He wanted the GOP in on it but with or without them he will get what he thinks is right for the country done. He has moved to Stimulus Package to Foreclosures, of to World Markets. In his wake are a bunch of GOP folks wondering if they have a future, talk show host blasting their own party, and independents and governors siding looking at the GOP like the walking wounded.

    February 18, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  22. CONNIE

    Someone needs to tell Obama to stop spending money on flying all over this country in Air Force One to campaing for his so called stimulas package. This man has flown someplace each day good god that cost us money. He needs to stay in the white house Bush never flew that much.

    February 18, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. matt

    Well yeah Obama is being excepted aboard because Europe wants to see the United States fall just like China and Russia The European Union is becoming like a world Empire and soon will be able to bankrupt the US and bring her to her knees

    February 18, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. No Incumbents 2010

    First of all the poll is goofy. Ask the American people, who gives a damn what the rest of the world thinks of us? Personally I couldn't care less. If we quit worrying about what everyone thinks and take care of our own country, we would all be better off. If the world hates us so damn much why the hell is everyone illegally immigrating to America?

    February 18, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  25. arithmetic is liberal

    mmm February 18th, 2009 5:16 pm ET

    obama is a deusch bag.
    __________________

    well he certainly did well the last time he was in Germany.... :P

    February 18, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
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