As for Americans themselves, they, as a rule, show little interest in their country’s foreign policy. Many Americans seem to still believe in the old stereotype that the authority of the US in world politics is unshakable.
Polls concerning what people in other countries think about the US are held rather seldom. Such polls are expensive and hard to carry out. This is why the results of the recent poll stirred much interest.
However, these results showed that within the three and a half years of Barack Obama’s presidency, his popularity in the world has considerably declined.
The strongest decline of his popularity took place in China – from the initial 57% to 27%. A similar situation is witnessed in Mexico and in Japan, although the latter has always had a reputation of a reliable partner of the US.
In Moslem countries, the US is, as a rule, not very popular, regardless of who is its president. However, in the beginning of his presidency, Mr. Obama’s popularity in Moslem countries was, on the average, somewhere at the point of 34%. Now, it has decreased to 15%.
In the leading European countries, which are the US’s partners in NATO, Mr. Obama’s rating declined from 78% to 63%. Besides, more and more people in these countries are starting to think that the leading country in the world’s economy now is not the US, but China.
The poll was held in Russia as well, and revealed a similar trend. Barack Obama’s popularity in Russia decreased by nearly one half.
The peak of Mr. Obama’s popularity in Russia – 40% - was witnessed when he declared the policy of “resetting” relations with Russia. He was also popular among Russians 2 years ago, when Russia and the US signed a treaty on reducing offensive weapons.
At present, Mr. Obama’s rating in Russia has decreased by 18%. This speaks of the fact that the euphoria, which many Russians experienced when President Obama declared the policy of “reset”, is now, to a big extent, over. The hopes that the two countries would very quickly improve their relations have not been justified. The old problems in these relations have not been solved – moreover, new problems have been added to them. If Mr. Obama is elected for a second term but still doesn’t try to achieve any radical changes in the Russian-US relations, his popularity in Russia will, most likely, decrease further.
However, Mr. Obama’s recent meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Mexico inspires some hope of improvement in the two countries’ relations. After the meeting was over, President Putin said: “Our talks showed that Mr. Obama’s and my views on many problems have much in common. He and I are going to maintain personal contacts, and I hope that Russian and US experts in many spheres will maintain contacts as well.”
What Mr. Obama said after the meeting was close to the above quoted words of Mr. Putin – although the US president was more restricted in his speech and revealed lesser details.
This may probably be explained by the fact that at present, Mr. Obama, most likely, feels less confident of himself than his Russian counterpart does. Vladimir Putin has recently won presidential elections. The fact that the majority of Russian voted for him is evidence that they have trust in him. Barack Obama is only expecting to take part in presidential elections in his country, and – at least, at present – he cannot boast of very high popularity. At present, Mr. Obama and his main rival Mitt Romney have practically similar chances of becoming the US’s next president. However, only one month ago, Mr. Obama’s rating was higher by 10% than that of Mr. Romney.
The presidential elections in the US will take place in November. Barack Obama still has some time left to think of something to increase his popularity.