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. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    It will take time to clean up the mess. It is much more extensive than Katrina, and the horrors of that disaster still linger. It is much easier to build a levy and houses than to change minds and the perception which others hold of us.

    February 18, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. Soldier girl

    You know what I think is so funny. CNN allowed Bush to get away with war in Iraq, torture and corruption and Obama has just been in office less that one month and they are ready to lynch him.

    What a news organization/reporters like John King

    February 18, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. Floyd in New York

    Not again February 18th, 2009 5:36 pm ET

    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.
    ---------------------
    Your candidate and ACORN stole the election!! Prove me wrong!!

    February 18, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. Tracey, LA

    For the record President Obama is doing a great job.

    Also, The New York Post cartoon is racist and anyone who doesn't see that is racist also. They're offended by the site of a monkey being killed than the president being called a monkey. This Sean guy should be fired, along with the editor. I couldn't care what his politics are, he's wrong. Get rid of the bum, he's toast.

    Make no mistake about it, the NY Post will have a very difficult time if they persist in making this about Al Sharpton. He was just first to point out the obvious. The paper is wrong and if they don't apologize, they will have a world of trouble on their hands, starting with horrible publicity for the next six months.

    Apologize now and get it over with, you will in the end.

    I'll be waiting for that apology, you can do it now or later, but you will do it.

    February 18, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  5. BUCKWHEAT19

    Well, sure foreign leaders have a lot of respect for him, he is one of them.

    February 18, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  6. Jon in CA

    Barry Obama just announced a troop INCREASE in Afghanistan and has broken MOST of his campaign promises within the first 30 days of office.

    WHY would any foreign leader put any trust in this guy? International Leaders are OBVIOUSLY more intelligent than the average ACORN-induced obamabot.

    February 18, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Meh...go figure...nowhere in the world does the hatred for the POTUS run more deep nor shine more bright than in the hearts of his own countrymen who disagree with everything that he and the majority that elected him believe in.

    February 18, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  8. truthsayer

    What a waste of a poll....you dont poll Americans on the Presidents popularity at home .Yikes! Ask the world community and its obvious Obama's popularity is sky high.

    February 18, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  9. Justin

    I already see the dirty republicans are doing every thing they can to see that Obama fails. How come they never questioned Bush when he did something. Lets vote them all out of office!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 18, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  10. Gabriel, Denver

    Give it time; many will be silenced. It's remarkably easy for the world to point the finger at the United States, considering the fact we voted those rodeo clowns in for eight years straight.

    February 18, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  11. Justin

    Hey Jon in California you sound like another racist republican!

    February 18, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  12. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    I'm not sure who is the president of the United States of America anymore or if we do have one. Did you guys see the guard of honor afforeded to Her Royal Highness Nancy Pelosi? I'm trying to put this picture together now that UBS has settled for 800miilion dollars for penalty. Boy I wish had his job. Oratory talent for $400k and joy ride. Not bad. Only in America I guess.

    February 18, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  13. Jackie in Dallas

    Yes, President Obama has a tough sales job convincing foreign leaders that we aren't going to play cowboy in world politics anymore. That we are going to abide by our treaties, international agreements, and support international law. What a concept. After eight years of a President that couldn't see beyond the end of his nose, they should be doubtful until they see actual change and movement.

    The fact that President Obama's first action was to initiate the shutdown of GITMO and to repeal the use of torture on prisoners should be a help. The fact that President Obama sees the international affect of our financial crisis, and knows that it is a part of a world crisis will help, as well. World leaders think highly of him now, and what will be crucial is how he handles the various pitfalls of his office. The fact that he is willing to admit to a mistake and apologize for it should be a refreshing change.

    February 18, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  14. Shelli

    It is so funny that the Republicans are so afraid that President Obama is going to do well they are doing everything to try to derail anything that he proposes or puts into action. Just you wait; we will see all of the Republicans with their hands out when it comes to their state. They will want to have the control of any monies that come into their state. They just hate that this black man is starting to make them look bad and not on purpose just because they buck everything that he does. Here comes another one Repugs. Look out!

    February 18, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  15. Jackie in Dallas

    Jon in CA

    Which campaign promise has he broken? Transparency? Hmmm. How else would you know what he's doing that you don't like? We found out about things that President Bush did YEARS after he did them.

    He made a promise to repeal the use of torture...first executive order was the initiation of a shutdown of GITMO and a repeal of the executive order that allowed torture.

    The campaign promise where he said he would work with Republicans. Well, he's tried. Just because they are acting like spoiled brats doesn't mean he hasn't made the effort. He has put into his Cabinet the most varied group of members in recent history, including trying to get Republicans in.

    He isn't perfect, and he never promised to be. He's made mistakes, but he's acknowledged them, then apologized for them. How many of the myriad of mistakes that President Bush made did he even acknowledge, much less apologize for? One. The Mission Accomplished banner, but he turned around and blamed it on one of his staff.

    He has brought change. Maybe it isn't the change you like, but the GOP is no longer in the White House or the majority party in Congress. He has already accomplished more in three weeks than President Bush did in three years! And he did it while juggling one of the worst economic crises in 100 years! You should only be able to do so well.

    February 18, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  16. Pat

    I read that the Republicans reaction to the Presidents plan was negative. Those Republicans never disappoint. Of course they oppose it, they are collectively the most ignorant and most appalling group in the USA. Why don't they try something new and try to work to help the entire country. The opportunities for improvement are limitless.
    President Obama inherited a Bush Disaster Plan. Bush was lame-duck alright. He just sat for months doing nothing and trying to tell the country that everything was alright when it wasn't. Yea, like the lies he and his buddies told us about Iraq and the false war we are still fighting there. Shameful behavior.
    All Republicans should be ashamed. I can't believe that 100 percent of them all have the same negative thoughts at the same time. Doesn't at least one Republican have a mind of their own?
    Sad situation this country is in and it will take a strong-willed and above board leader like Barack Obama to lead us out of the valley.

    February 18, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  17. LOL

    TO JON OF CA: HEY YOUR STATE IS BROKE, MAKE SURE YOUR GOVERNOR (ACTOR) DOESN'T TAKE ANY MONEY FROM THE STIMULAS PKG. JON IF YOU HAVE ANY COMMON SENSE, DURING THE CAMPAIGN HE CLEARLY STATED WE NEED TO CONCENTRATE ON AFGAN AND AL QUEDA AND BIN LADEN AND THAT IS WHAT HE IS DOING, DON'T FORGET WHO IN THE HELL GOT US IN IRAQ OVER WMD THAT NEVER APPEARED. YEAH 30 DAYS, LOOK WHAT BUSH DID IN 8 YEARS YOU JERK. MOST OF FOREING LEADER DIDN'T HAVE ANY RESPECT FOR OUR FORMER PRESIDENT

    February 18, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. LOL

    SORRY FOR MY SPELLING BUT JON YOU GOT UNDER MY SKIN AND I WAS TYPING SO FAST

    February 18, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  19. boered1

    Jon in CA February 18th, 2009 6:05 pm ET
    You said
    "Barry Obama just announced a troop INCREASE in Afghanistan and has broken MOST of his campaign promises within the first 30 days of office."

    please tell me what promise PRESIDENT Obama broke? I understand that many of you radical religious rightwing Republicans never actually listened to anything PRESIDENT Obaqma said during the campaign but wiated for the leader of the RNC to give you your daily talking points. But I am really interested in wht promise youthink he broke? he said he would increase troops in Afghanistan, throughout the entire election process and he is doing that. He said he would close Gitmo and he is doing that, he said he would order the generals to remove the troops from Iraq and he is doing that, he said he would work to recover the economy and he is doing that.. so what promise did he break? The only one I can find is where he said he would give 5 days for the public to review any bill and comment on them, unfortutnately circumstances and the obstruction of the radical religious rightwing republicans prevented him doing that and getting the bills out on the day he promised he would. So please tell me of these broken promises....

    February 18, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  20. soldier girl

    In the first place, Bush focus should have been Afganistan and not Iraq. Mr Obama is doing the righ thing and I am ready if he wants me out the door. Obama you have given us hope and there are those who have never like you will never like you because of ignorance.

    February 18, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  21. Jackie in Dallas

    Obviously the "deusch" bag comments were written by men. Any woman could tell you the proper spelling is douche. And it is a tool used to clean up intimate areas. So using it to describe our President could be construed as impolite, at the least. In some ways it could also be accurate, since President Obama IS cleaning up some sensitive areas that need cleaning up...like our use of torture, denial of due process of law, etc. Now what we need is some enema bags to clean up the GOP!

    February 18, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  22. aware

    As and Independent and a former Canadian I say forget it Obama! Why do you think I left Canada?

    You are a great demonstration of everything that went wrong with the Trudeau Administration and ever since in Canada! :(

    February 18, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  23. RJ

    Has anyone looked at the specifics of the "economic stimulus" plan/bill that will soon be signed into law? I was looking through the defense portion and there is an earmark for ~ $60M for cemeterial expenses related to Arlington. Why would that be in a bill like this one? How does spenind that money stimulate the economy? Is there a place we can go to read more of the specifics of where the money is going? Tucking certain things into a bill seems misguided and potentially underhanded. I am a 20 year veteran and I do not understand that one.

    February 18, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  24. Ken

    Well, Jon in CA and BUCKWHEAT19, thank you for your insightful and clearly thought-out remarks. Wow, what a bright future the [R] party surely has with the likes of you two supporting it.

    As I see it, the problem with both your posts is that you two didn't vote for Obama....it wasn't even a close decision for you. You two voted to continue the abject failure of the last 8+ years under [R] control. How very smart of you. You didn't really listen to what Obama had to say during the campaign. You just got your rightwing-filtered soundbites of what FoxNews wanted you to think he said. So, its more than a bit disingenuous that you little rightwing drama queens come on here to claim that Obama didn't keep his campaign promises or to imply that he is a foreign president. You two gonads are so stricken with hyper-partisan post-election delusion, that you cannot present a cogent analysis of what Obama has or has not done. And from my perspective, Obama made NO promises to the likes of you two neo-idiots anyway.

    February 18, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  25. america first

    considering how terrible the last administration was, it's bound to take time to regain our respect.

    February 18, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
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