Poll Shows Obama’s Recent Popularity In Arab World

Ariel Cohen | Contributor

A poll conducted by the Zogby Research Service titled “Five Years After the Cairo Speech, How Arabs View President Obama and America,” shows that the President’s favorability ratings in the Arab world have improved.

The poll showed that in most Arab countries attitudes towards the United States are similar to where they stood in 2009, when Obama gave his infamous Cairo speech titled “A New Beginning.”  These most recent approval ratings are significantly higher than the low favorability ratings of the Bush-era.

The poll surveyed nearly 7,000 people from six Arab nations—Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, KSA and the UAE — and the Palestinian territories.

Although Obama’s favorability ratings improved, many of those surveyed still feel uncertain about the Obama administration’s stance on certain issues pertaining to the Arab world.

“There is a sharp decline in confidence that the United States is committed to democracy across the Middle East,” the poll summary stated.

Many of the strong majorities in Arab countries believe that the United States has not been fair in its approach to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, and believe that the United States is not committed to establishing Palestine as an independent state, the poll reports.

Overall, Arabs believe that the Obama administration has been the most effective in ending the U.S. presence in Iraq, and least effective in improving relations with the Arab/Muslim World, especially in terms of handling crises such as the Arab Spring.

Within Egypt, the majority of individuals surveyed say that the United States was too supportive of Hosini Mubarak, and not supportive enough of Muhammad Morsi. Opinion remains split on the American government’s approach to the current Egyptian government.

The poll also found that, in general, Arabs back the administration’s efforts to end the Iranian nuclear program, yet they have little confidence that these efforts will succeed. Similarly, the poll found that Arabs strongly support the Obama administration’s policy on Syria.

Support for Obama’s policies is much greater than his favorability ratings and regarding American contributions to peace and stability in the region. When comparing Obama’s policies in 2011 and 2014, every country surveyed preferred his present-day policies to his 2011 policies.

The most popular American president in Arab counties was Bill Clinton, and the least popular was George W. Bush. Obama’s rating have — and continue to — fall in-between the two.

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