European Publics Still Love Obama -- But Not His Foreign Policy     Print Email

A Pew Research opinion survey shows President Barack Obama maintaining his extraordinary popularity in Europe as a global leader – despite some political setbacks at home and abroad.

Ratings of America are overwhelmingly favorable in Western Europe. For example, 73% of French and 63% of Germans say they have a favorable view of the U.S. (Approval rates of America have also jumped sharply in Russia (57%), up 11 points, and in Japan (66%), up 7 points.) The new findings emerged from the latest edition of the annual Pew 22-nation survey of global attitudes. In most wealthier countries, he gets “an enthusiastic thumbs-up” for the way he has handled the world economic crisis.

The glaring exception is the U.S. itself, where as many people disapprove of his approach as approve.

Another irony lies in the fact that Obama’s person popularity in Europe has not translated into geo-political success in EU governments’ support on major international issues such as stimulus-spending to remedy the global recession, a new approach to climate change, or the war in Afghanistan.


And even a better-regarded U.S. (at least compared to the Bush administration after the Iraq invasion) is still seen as unilateralist. The survey found that most EU governments are not alligned with Washington on "the American approach to world affairs and some key U.S. policies” pursued by the Obama administration. For example, Europeans strongly oppose the U.S.-led NATO war in Afghanistan, with nearly six out of 10 people in Germany advocating withdrawal from the conflict.

The poll also revealed Europe’s generally positive view of the success of its own policies. Despite growing economic concerns in Europe, the poll found little indication of any broad public backlash against the EU. Large majorities in Poland, Spain, France and Germany and nearly half of Britain remain supportive of the EU.

Among European leaders, the Pew analysis said, German Chancellor Angela Merkel enjoys broad approval in Europe, particularly in Britain, Spain and France (where she gets higher ratings than at home for her leadership in world affairs.) Similarly, French President Nicolas Sarkozy's ratings are, if anything, somewhat better in Germany than in France.

The entire Pew analysis of its survey can be found at:


Jennifer Wnuk is an Editorial Assistant at European Affairs

 Kurt Moss is an Editorial Assistant at European Affairs