Obama remains popular in EU, despite domestic woes
September 14th, 2011
11:26 AM ET
3 years ago

Obama remains popular in EU, despite domestic woes

Washington (CNN) – While a new CNN poll has his disapproval at the highest point of his presidency, President Barack Obama’s woes at home do not appear to have tainted the president in the eyes of Europeans even three years after his election was watched around the world.

The Transatlantic Trends 2011 poll, released Wednesday, shows that 75 percent of people polled in the European Union approved of Obama’s handling of international issues. These numbers remain markedly higher than President Bush, who scored a 20 percent in 2008, and other of European leaders, who scored an average of 54 percent.

“Obviously, Europeans, by in large, can’t vote in American elections but I think what is important here is that with presidential approval from Europe, the support of America’s overall international affairs also increases,” said Zsolt Nyiri, director of Transatlantic Trends.

Obama's approval is not as high as it used to be, though. In 2009, 83 percent of those samples in the European Union approved of Obama's handling of international policies.

“I think it is highly unlikely that it will go back to the initial high percentages,” said Nyiri. “It was really rare so I think what is happening now is Obama is still popular but his numbers are coming back to earth.”

On the home front, however, the president’s approval rating continues to slip.

According to a Tuesday CNN/ORC poll, the president's approval rating stands at 43 percent, virtually unchanged from the 45 percent approval rating in the previous CNN poll.

The survey reveals that 55 percent say they do not approve of how Obama is handling his duties in the White House and the number of Americans who think he is a strong leader has dropped to a new low.

“I think most of the troubles that Obama is facing are domestic issue of unemployment and the economy. Europeans, however, look at Obama mostly as an international leader,” Nyiri said.

The international poll showed that Obama continues to receive higher marks for his policies in Europe, than he does in the United States.

Among Europeans surveyed, 51 percent approved of Obama’s handling of Libya and Afghanistan, while 73 percent approved his fighting of international terrorism.

This compares to 47 percent in the CNN/ORC poll who approve of the president’s handling on foreign affairs.

Though Obama’s approval rating was highest in Portugal (82 percent), Germany (81 percent) and Italy (79 percent), in 2009 all of these countries gave Obama a 90-plus rating. Spain showed the steepest decline over the three-year period, from 85 percent in 2009 to 68 percent today.

“Obama’s numbers declined most in countries where they were so high [after he was first elected], that nobody expected it to last over a longer time period,” Nyiri said.

The domestic poll was conducted over the telephone by CNN by ORC International from September 9-11 among 1,038 adults. It has an overall sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

The European survey was conducted by TNS Opinion and surveyed 1,000 adults in Turkey and 12 European Union from May 25 to June 17. The over-the-phone interviews come with a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: 2012 • CNN/ORC International poll • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Ted van Tol

    To Rbber Baron: who said: probably a global effort for Green Energy would do it.

    Ofcourse it would but all Obama's efforts are shoot down by the republicans because they are put politics for county.

    September 14, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. Reggie from LA

    Probably buouyed by EU because they have a better education system and recognize statesmanship and intellect. We pump out a buch of dunces from our system. Not lacking education per se. Just lack sense. Vote your consciences for lobbyists and puppet masters. That would be Teaparty and GOP. If you all can't see what they've done to stranglehold your president (you too dems), your education is showing through.

    September 14, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. Atlanta Independent Voters

    EU know how racist America is and show everyday look at the teabaggars

    September 14, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. KatR

    I remember an article in Reader's Digest published in summer 2008...it was reporting an international poll then that said that if the world could vote for US president then Obama would be the winner by a landslide. It also reported that his popularility in America was much, much lower.

    Obama has definitely changed America's relationships with the rest of the world. But here in America many are unable to grasp how intelligent and tolerant he is. It's too easy to take sides and play the all-American political football game.

    September 14, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. FM

    Europeans are not confusing between a spade and a small spoon. They call them accordingly!

    September 14, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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