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Obama still highly popular in Europe: poll

Last updated: 15 September, 2011
Washington, Sept 15 (AFP) 7:38 IST

US President Barack Obama's ratings have plunged at home but he remains highly popular in Europe, with 75 per cent in 12 EU nations approving his handling of global affairs, a poll has said.

He is also much better liked than his predecessor George W Bush, whose rating in Europe was just 20 per cent in 2008, said the Transatlantic Trends poll by the German Marshall Fund

Since 2009, when Obama had a 80-90 per cent approval rating in Europe, his popularity has declined 17 points in Spain, 13 points in Slovakia and 12 points in France and Italy
But he still received an 82 per cent approval rating for international affairs in Portugal and 81 per cent in Germany and the Netherlands, with an average of 75 per cent across the 12 EU states surveyed.

Obama's success in eliminating Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden appeared to be a factor in his popularity in the EU, with 73 per cent backing his efforts to fight international terrorism.

In contrast, just 51 per cent approved of his handling of conflicts in Libya and Afghanistan.

Philip Gordon, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, said the Obama administration was "overall encouraged" by the numbers.

"It confirms over the three years of the Obama administration consistent and strong support by Europeans for the president's handling of international affairs," Gordon said at an event hosted by the Fund.

However, at home, a Washington Post/ABC News poll earlier this month put Obama's disapproval rating at 53 per cent, and 77 per cent said the country was on the wrong track. Thirty- four per cent said Obama's economic policies had done more harm than good.

Separately, the German Marshall Fund poll found a plurality of Turks still said they want their country to join the European Union although support is well below 2004 levels, when 73 per cent wanted membership.

The poll also found a strong majority of Turks -- 62 per cent -- had a negative view of the US, with just 30 per cent seen as favourable. The feeling was apparently mutual, with only 42 per cent of Americans holding a positive view of Turkey.

The poll surveyed around 1,000 people in each of the countries -- the US, 12 EU members and Turkey -- between May 25 and June 20.

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