Fewer Americans think President Obama is respected on the world stage, according to a new Gallup poll. It is not hard to see why.
This President came into office on promises as outlandish as reversing climate change. Abroad, expectations were so outsized that Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009—before he had even completed his first year in office. After those highs, a competent U.S. President would have been hard pressed to measure up, and U.S. foreign policy in the Obama era has been characterized by weakness and indecision.
When Obama came into office, 67 percent of Americans believed their new President was respected abroad and only 20 percent did not. At that time, Obama did indeed have superstar ratings around the world.
Those numbers have steadily changed as reality set in, and the Obama Administration initiated U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan and floundered hopelessly in the face of monumental challenges such as the Arab Spring. By 2013, just 51 percent of Americans believed their President was respected abroad, while the percentage of those who believed he was not rose to 44 percent.
When Gallup took its most recent poll a few weeks ago, those numbers had reversed. The intervening year has seen revelations about U.S. surveillance of foreign leaders and massive NSA data collection. It has also seen President Obama deferring to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Syria’s chemical weapons and striking a highly disadvantageous deal with Iran on its nuclear programs. Today, 51 percent of Americans believe Obama is not respected abroad, while a minority, 44 percent, still believes he is.
Particularly interesting about the Gallup poll is that it not only confirms what conservatives like Heritage Foundation’s James Carafano and Kim Holmes have been saying for years about the negative implications of the Obama Doctrine, it also shows that independents and even Democrats have caught on in 2014.
Just a year ago, 80 percent of Democrats believed Obama was viewed favorably abroad and 14 percent did not. In 2014, however, those numbers had shifted to 69 percent and 28 percent, a 14 percent negative swing.
In 2013, 49 percent of independents believed that global views of Obama were respectful and 45 percent did not. In 2014, just 34 percent of independents held a positive view of the President’s global standing to 57 percent who did not—a change of 12 percent in the negative direction.
Among Republicans, however, there was barely any change at all. In 2013, only 21 percent thought Obama was respected abroad; 74 percent did not. In 2014, the numbers were 19 percent versus 77 percent, a minor negative change of 3 percent. Needless to say, Republican respondents only saw confirmed what they already knew to be true: On foreign policy—as in much else—this country is headed in the wrong direction.