President Barack Obama will address a sceptical audience in the Muslim world when he delivers his scheduled speech on the Middle East tomorrow, according to a new survey from the Pew Research centre.The poll, released yesterday, found that Obama remains unpopular in several predominantly Muslim nations, and most people disapprove of the way he has handled the Arab Spring uprisings roiling the Middle East.
Here are some of the poll’s key findings:
- In Egypt, 79% of poll respondents said they had an unfavorable view of the United States, while 64% expressed a lack of confidence in Obama.
- U.S. favorability ratings in Jordan dropped to 13% in 2011 from 21% in 2010. Negative views about the U.S. also increased in Turkey, where favorability dropped to 10% from 17% in 2010, and Pakistan, where it fell from 17% to 11%.
- Large majorities of those surveyed in the Middle East and Pakistan said they were not confident Obama would do the right thing in world affairs, ranging from 57% in Lebanon to 84% in the Palestinian territories.
- Indonesia – Obama’s boyhood home – was the exception among the nations surveyed, with 54% of Indonesians expressing favourable views of the U.S. and 62% expressing confidence in Obama
- The survey – taken before the U.S. killed Osama bin Laden – found that, except in Indonesia, large majorities opposed the U.S. campaign against terrorism. Just 9% of those surveyed in Jordan, and 14% in Turkey and Pakistan said they are in favour of U.S. anti-terrorism efforts. About one-third of Lebanese and 21% of Egyptians expressed support.
- Al Qaeda was rated negatively by majorities in all of the countries surveyed, although more than a quarter of those polled in the Palestinian territories expressed support for the terrorist network.
- Hamas garnered considerable support in Egypt and Jordan, but did not receive a majority favorability rating in any country. Fatah, Hamas’ secular rival, is more popular among Palestinians.
- Only the Palestinian territories expressed majority support for Lebanon’s Hezbollah. In Lebanon, support for the Shia militant group was split along the country’s sharp sectarian divisions.