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. No Incumbents 2010

    If everyone in the world hates us so; why is everyone illegally immigrating here?

    February 18, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. boered1

    Kurt C. February 18th, 2009 4:54 pm ET
    You said:
    I thought the world loved us again now that the messiah was in the White House. What happened

    No one but the radical religious rightwing republicans have been toutitn the line about the worlkd loves us and Obama is the messiah. Most people who voted for President Obama understood that he is NOT infalible (he even said it himself) nor that he was going to wave some majic wand and everything will be okay. We understood that first we had to changethe leadership in our country and second we had to deal with the problems left to us by recent administrationS. So we ahve done the first, we changed the leadership, it took almost 2 years but we were able to do it, we not only did not elect McCain (who sold his soul to the RNC after his butt whooping in 2000), we also did not elect the liar hillary (who has no soul to sell), now we have to work on the second, harder problem, solving as many of the problems left to us as possible. One of the big ones is our foreign relations, most foreign leaders ahve publically stated that they felt the bush administration ignored them and had a cowboy approach to world affairs. Now they have a wait and see viewpoint, not an improvement, hopefully now that President Obama has started the recovery of our internal economy he will have time to start dealing with the foreign relations disasters and turn that wait and see attitude to a supportive one. We will see he may yet fail but so far he is doing well.

    February 18, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  3. Jeff from Jersey

    Just the fact that Bush and his thugs are gone will make a lot more of the world's leaders seek to improve relations with our country.The chances of a better country and a better world are now possible.We had no foreign relations with Bush.If WE couldn't stand him and his policies it's not surprising that nobody else could either.

    At least there is HOPE around the world for a change.Our country is one of the worst citizens in the global community.We take whatever we want and give back little in return.If they don't like it we club them until we get it anyway.Toture,pollution,deprivation of human rights.Sounds more like the Nazis than what we are supposed to stand for.Maybe some day we will realize that we SHOULD be a benevelant benefactor to the world and not just a snot-nosed bully.Let's hope that starts today.

    February 18, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. Dawn

    Gary; I agree with you on all of your nine Statements, but one thing I cannot agree is you need to spend money to make money. I do understand that we needed to borrow money from China.

    To be honest I have been following President Obama since I heard his campaign speech. Remember in September there was a 700 billion bailout for the banking industries and of course the Republican wanted that as much as the Democrats, but when we needed a jumpstart our economy the Republicans have to take their marbles and go home and sulk, I wanted all tax cuts for my rich friends, screw the middle class, they are not worth it. For the Republican this is their message. For the Democrats, lets help the working family, get them back to work. Minutes after the stimulas bill was signed, get what in Missour they were not waiting for their states money, they broke ground. Nice!

    In Pennsylvania, the same thing, hiring more Police and Firefighters, one thing in Philly most cops are afraid because it is open season of Philly police, that is so sad, six in fifteen months.

    Now if any state in the Union is in dire needs of money Please say aye!

    February 18, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. Had It

    He's been in office less than 4 weeks - you airheads at CNN need to just cool it.. You get your shorts in a wad every time something doesn't happen on YOUR schedule.

    Why don't YOU do something to help, instead of spinning and stirring the stink you create?

    February 18, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  6. republicans hate america

    love it how republicans are 'questioning' obama when they did ask not one to that traitor before him for all of 8 years.

    February 18, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  7. Ryan

    I'm sorry. I just got back in and the Palin article was closed for comments. I just looked on Rush Limbaugh's site and hannity's and guess what, no mention.

    The questions is; how will they spin this one?

    They have been giving Dem cabinet appointmetns hell but now look; their second in command wanna be and potential (I say this laughing and very loosely) Presidential nominee in 2012 is under scruitny for the same thing.

    GOP. May you rest in peace

    February 18, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  8. republicans hate america

    hey you do not criticize our president during a time of war

    February 18, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. Not again

    Republicans must of done so much whining about the 2008 election that CNN must let them control the talking points about Obama. ITs time to move on losers.

    February 18, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  10. jennifer in houston

    Gallup needs to learn to walk instead of galloping ahead with extrapolations of what people think of the President. He's only been in the White House a couple of weeks, time we relaxed a little with all the punches and counter punches. Wait and See.

    February 18, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  11. SuperDuperIndependent

    Who cares what "the world" thinks about the US. It is this type of celebrity mindset that got us the affirmative action empty suit president we have now.

    February 18, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  12. guythegood

    I think most people around the globe are ready to give this new US president a chance. He speaks of doing things differently which of itself is a change from the abomination cast upon the world for the last 8 years by the US electorate . In addition, he is smart enough to avoid recklessness in his pursuit of change. The other fella wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer...

    Welcome to Ottawa Mr. Obama.

    February 18, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  13. No Incumbents 2010

    I recall a president who did much for peace in the Middle East and the rest of the world in the 70's , but we still had approximately 70 Americans taken hostage by terrorist in Iran for 444 days. I love how naive our youth are today. They need to read real history and not believe what they have been indoctrinated to believe in our public schools. The world is the world and although this may bruise your self esteem not everyone is going to embrace us.

    February 18, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  14. republicans hate america

    GARY and Bush has failed on all of them

    February 18, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  15. xddy4u

    Obama hasn't been in Office a MONTH, how can you POLL anything?
    This is his FIRST visit out of States. At least give him a 100 DAYS. The MEDIA got to love Obama, for he is FOOD their journalistic souls. These thread are the PITS.

    February 18, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  16. Scott, Tucson

    Why on earth should we care what other nations think of us? They only spit in our face regardless of what we do on the international scene, any honeymoon Obama believes he would have with the world leaders will quickly fade. GOD what a bunch of whinning P.C. wimps you have become.

    February 18, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  17. Danny in Chicago

    To the blogger who wrote:
    "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."

    Yes that is true – HOWEVER, to ignore what got us into the mess we are in only will allow the door to remain open for future failures!

    You just don't want to be reminded of the failed policies you supported! I'm sorry, but you NEED to be reminded because there are some of us who were right ALL ALONG!

    February 18, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  18. Danny in Chicago

    To the blogger who wrote:
    "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."

    Yes that is true – HOWEVER, to ignore what got us into the mess we are in only will allow the door to remain open for future failures!

    You just don't want to be reminded of the failed policies you supported! I'm sorry, but you NEED to be reminded because there are some of us who were right ALL ALONG!

    February 18, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  19. JIM...TX

    Connie...where had you been the last 8 years????? Bush spent more time JETTING to Crawford an goofing off on "our" dime than ANY previous President. Do a fact check!

    February 18, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  20. malcom X

    Give the brother a break, he is not been in the office too long and he is already been judged, Geez!!.. I know some sharks out there are waiting with their mouth wide open following him every inch to see when he will make mistake so they would bounce on him with their negative thoughts.... God is greater than all and he will continue to be with him..

    Jah bless

    February 18, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  21. SuperDuperIndependent

    I love that now that Obama is showing himself to be a clueless abject failure everyone is hedging their bet with "it is bush's mess" or "he said he was not infallible" or "this will take a long time". So when does the kid actually have to perform? Oh, that's right no responsibility until it is "easy".

    February 18, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  22. yuri

    Only one man can come from behind and turn the tables against the group of unfavorable opinion holders-Obama himself. When the whole world is in different levels of turmoil, and in the absence of a magic wand, savoire faire and sangfroid can go a long way in achieving diplomatic successes.

    February 18, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  23. Mark

    The REPUBLICANS will never support President Obama.

    REASON: The HEDGE funds bet that the market would collapse 2008,2009, and 2010. The same time Bush tax cuts expire.

    The more the housing market crashes they can CASH IN their positions. If the market imrpoves all their stakes and hedges are FULLY RUINED.

    Some sheepple will always follow the REPUB while their family and friends and businesses ends up TOTALLY ruined!!

    February 18, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  24. Simpliticus

    There is no question that Obama has an uphill climb when it comes to the United States being appreciated in the eyes of foreigners based upon how Bush had previous treated these same countries. But it is nice to see that this president is given far more accolades than given to Bush and why not since Bush basically held the same "My way or the Highway" attitude with respect to these other countries as well. In Obama the US has a chance to regain all that goodwill lost by George W. Bush and good luck to the President in this endeavor!

    February 18, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  25. Once you vote Black

    mmmm, are you saying that a war hero got beat by a deusch bag? Are you saying the GOP could not stop a deusch bag from taking over the government? How could your grasp on American power be so weak that a deusch bag with the name Hussain whip you in a landslide and take the House and Senate along with him? How could a deusch bag beat the pants off of your party? Wow, that would make you sub-deusch. Perhaps being a deusch is not such a bad thing if it means beating white people at there own game.

    February 18, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
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