President Obama's poll ratings may be slipping at home, but his popularity abroad is already repairing the image of the United States, which took a beating during the Bush administration.
The nonpartisan Pew Research Center reported today that favorability ratings for the US among people around the globe have improved markedly, recovering in many countries to the point before George W. Bush took office and began the highly unpopular war in Iraq.
"Improvements in the U.S. image have been most pronounced in Western Europe, where favorable ratings for both the nation and the American people have soared. But opinions of America have also become more positive in key countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, as well," says the Pew Global Attitudes Project, which surveyed nearly 27,000 people in 25 nations this spring.
The Pew report found that in 21 of the countries surveyed, an average of 71 percent of respondents had at least some confidence in Obama's handling of world affairs. In 2008, when Bush was in the White House, the figure in those same countries was only 17 percent.
Obama has drawn adoring crowds on most of his stops on foreign trips since becoming president.
"Signs of improvement in views of America are seen even in some predominantly Muslim countries that held overwhelmingly negative views of the United States in the Bush years. The most notable increase occurred in Indonesia, where people are well aware of Obama's family ties to the country and where favorable ratings of the U.S. nearly doubled this year."
But Muslims in the Middle East still hold negative views about the United States.
And there was one notable exception: Israel, where Bush's policies were popular, and where there is concern over Obama's push to stop settlements on the West Bank.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.