A plurality of likely voters — or 45 percent — believe that U.S. relations with the Islamic world are worse under President Barack Obama than they were under President George W. Bush, according to a Rasmussen poll released on Tuesday.
A mere 18 percent believe that U.S.-Muslim relations are better, while 31 percent believe relations have stayed the same since Obama took the White House four years ago.
Obama has been highly critical of his predecessor and U.S. foreign policy concerning the Middle East in general. He has often suggested, both before and throughout his presidency, that he has a better understanding of the Muslim culture and perspective than Bush.
In 2007, on New Hampshire Public Radio, Obama said, “I truly believe that the day I’m inaugurated, not only does the country look at itself differently, but the world looks at America differently.”
“If I’m reaching out to the Muslim world, they understand that I’ve lived in a Muslim country,” he continued. “And I may be a Christian, but I understand their point of view.”
And in a 2009 foreign policy speech in Cairo, Egypt, Obama declared “a new beginning” with the Muslim world: “I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition.”
The poll comes as tensions continue to mount between the United States and the Middle East in the aftermath of riots attacking the American Embassy in Egypt, and a Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed the American ambassador and three other Americans. The poll also comes as the president used a Tuesday speech at the United Nations to suggest “progress” has been made in the region. (RELATED: Obama declares ‘progress’ in Arab region)
In the same speech, Obama continued to blame the Middle East turmoil on an anti-Muslim video. A Rasmussen poll released on Monday shows that a plurality believe the deadly attacks were not as a result of that video, but instead, were pre-planned and likely involved terrorists.